ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays on Monday made the new look of Kevin Cash’s staff official, with Rodney Linares shifted from third base to bench coach, and Brady Williams and Tomas Francisco promoted from the minor leagues.
Williams, who had been the Triple-A Durham manager, will take over as third-base coach. Francisco, most recently the catching coordinator, will become the major-league field coordinator.
The moves were the result of bench coach Matt Quatraro getting hired earlier this month as manager of the Royals and taking Paul Hoover, the Rays’ field coordinator, with him as bench coach.
“Just the work that (Linares) has done, the fit he is, the personality he has, he can really help me in having managed, seeing things from third base,” Cash said. “We talk all the time when we we’re on defense. To have him when we’re on offense would be a big help to us, a benefit for in-game decisions.
“Brady was an easy choice. I have felt Brady Williams was a big-league coach for many years, and I’m happy the opportunity has finally come to fruition. Extremely excited to bring in Tomas, who is very highly thought of. ... I’m excited with how the staff has come together.”
Linares, 46, joined the Rays for the 2019 season, taking over as third-base coach when Quatraro shifted to bench coach after Charlie Montoyo was hired to manage the Blue Jays. Linares spent the previous 21 years in the Astros organization, the last 12 managing in the minors. He worked his way from rookie ball to Triple-A, compiling a 761-694 (.523) record. He also has managed three years in the Dominican Winter League and will helm the extremely talented Dominican team in the World Baseball Classic in the spring.
”I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve as the next bench coach for the Rays,” Linares said in a news release. “Our club continues to make strides each year, and I can’t wait to continue to pursue our ultimate goal of winning the World Series. I am looking forward to helping the team grow, improve and continue to win games.”
Williams, 43, is headed to the majors for the first time. He has coached in the Rays system since 2006, managing the last 13 seasons. He worked his way from short-season Class A to Triple-A Durham in 2019, compiling a 944-799 (.512) overall record.
Williams, the son of longtime major-league manager Jimy Williams, grew up in the Tampa Bay area. He played for the 1991 Dunedin team that went to the Little League World Series, then Clearwater Central Catholic and Pasco-Hernando Community College before spending seven years in the minor and independent leagues.
“It is an honor to join the major-league coaching staff after growing up in the area, playing in the Rays system and coaching at every level of the organization,” Williams said in the release. “To have this opportunity with the Rays speaks volumes to the organization and the development and trust that they invest in their people.”
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Francisco, 34, played four years in the minors for the Rays and has been on staff since 2013, serving as a minor-league coach, manager and, for the last four years, catching coordinator. He will work with the big-league catchers and also assume much of the organizational duties Quatraro and Hoover had.
“I am honored for this opportunity to join the major-league coaching staff and can’t wait to start,” Francisco said. “The organization has supported me as a minor league player, coach, manager and coordinator, and I’m so proud to be part of the Tampa Bay Rays family.”
Overall, there are three new faces on Cash’s staff, as they previously promoted Jorge Moncada from minor-league pitching coordinator to bullpen coach. He replaced Stan Boroski, who retired.
Hoover, 46, spent the last four years on Cash’s staff as the major-league field coordinator and seven before that working in the minors. He joins Quatraro, who was hired Oct. 30 as Royals manager.
Roster deadline looming
The Rays are working to make several trades or other moves by Tuesday’s 6 p.m. deadline to add prospects to the 40-man roster for protection from the upcoming Rule 5 draft. Several spots will need to be created, with pitcher Taj Bradley and infielder Curtis Mead certain to be added, and several others under consideration. The Rays also could trade prospects rather than risk losing them.
Players who seem candidates to be traded or taken off the roster include infielder outfielder Bligh Madris, infielder Miles Mastrobuoni and several from their deep pool of relievers such as JT Chargois, Javy Guerra, Ryan Yarbrough or one of their lefty relievers. Also a factor is Friday’s deadline to tender contracts.
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