Rays’ Kevin Cash a finalist for AL’s top manager award again

This will be the fifth time in the last six seasons the Tampa native has finished in the top three in BBWAA voting.
Rays manager Kevin Cash, shown here during a batting practice in August, is one of three finalists for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America's AL Manager of the Year award.
Rays manager Kevin Cash, shown here during a batting practice in August, is one of three finalists for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America's AL Manager of the Year award. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Nov. 7|Updated Nov. 7

ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash has been voted one of the top three managers in the American League for the fifth time in six seasons.

Cash was announced Monday as one of the three finalists for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America AL Manager of the Year award, along with Baltimore’s Brandon Hyde and Texas’ Bruce Bochy. The winner will be announced Nov. 14.

Hyde is considered the favorite for the award, which is based on regular-season performance, as the Orioles won an AL-most 101 games in earning their first playoff berth since 2016.

But Cash also earned a distinction, as the only AL manager — and one of two or three overall — to receive manager of the year votes in the last six seasons. He finished third in 2018 and 2019, won in 2020 and 2021 (joining Bobby Cox, for Atlanta in 2004-05, as the only back-to-back winners), was sixth last year and is in the top three again.

Atlanta’s Brian Snitker, an NL finalist, also received votes the last six seasons, and Los Angeles’ Dave Roberts may have.

Despite the Wild Card Series sweep, Rays baseball operations president Erik Neander lauded Cash’s work in leading the team to 99 wins and its fifth straight playoff berth, saying it was his best in nine seasons on the job.

That was due to handling significant adversity, including a slew of injuries to key players, and the absence of All-Star shortstop Wander Franco from mid-August on, due to allegations of inappropriate relationships with minors.

“I can’t say enough about the job that (Cash) and the staff did this year,” Neander said Monday from the GM meetings in Arizona. “The ending was the ending, but to reach that point and to keep it together and to put ourselves in that position to lead the group to 99 wins was truly remarkable. That’s as good a job as he’s ever done.”

Cash has compiled a 739-617 (.545) record and heads into 2024 as the longest-tenured manager with his current team.

Bendix takes over Marlins

Former Rays general manager Peter Bendix was officially hired Monday as the Marlins’ president of baseball operations.

Bendix, 38, thanked his former colleagues, from principal owner Stuart Sternberg down.

“I am incredibly grateful to Stu, Erik, and the entire Rays organization for giving me an opportunity as an intern in 2009, and supporting me ever since,” he told the Tampa Bay Times via text message. “I’ve been fortunate to develop lasting friendships during my 15 years with the Rays and had a lot of fun along the way. I’m very grateful and excited for this new opportunity, and the Rays will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Neander said losing Bendix was bittersweet given how closely they worked together for so long, but that he “couldn’t be more happy for him to have this opportunity, given it’s something that he wanted.”

As for how Bendix will be replaced, Neander said they will get through this week’s GM meetings then “kind of assess what we need to do to restructure our staff, if that’s something we need to do.”

As they tend to do in these situations, Neander indicated they will look internally.

“We have a lot of really capable people that are deserving of greater opportunity,” he said. “When these moments come along, we have a long track record of allowing the people we have to take on more and to keep us moving in that way.”

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