Rays’ Cash still believes in his team

by Gary Shelton on March 28, 2018 · 4 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Cash thinks his team's defense will be better./JEFFREY S. KING

Cash thinks his team's defense will be better./JEFFREY S. KING

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

On a new morning in his old house, Kevin Cash sat in a dugout with his back to the wall. Given the expectations of the road ahead, it seemed as fitting a place for Cash to start his journey as anywhere.

In front of him was the new turf of the Trop. Above were the aging banners of successes long ago. There was a catwalk, and blue seats, and, despite what most of us think, possibilities.

The Rays unwrap a new season Thursday, one in which Cash and his team believe will be more successful than most of the rest of us. Hey, someone has to believe, right? It might as well be Cash, a guy whose job it is to have faith.

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Look around, and you cannot help but notice the low expectations that surround this team. The Rays are a new-look bunch without a high-priced import, and as a result, critics don't expect a lot of wins in 2018. .

Then again, it wasn't as if the Rays broke up the '27 Yankees, was it? If team had brought back every player from a year ago, it still wouldn't be picked to be much higher than third place.

Still, Cash thinks his team might do a lot of the little things better than a year ago. That's not a bad place to start.

"In theory, we're going to catch the ball better," Cash said. "We're going to show more range in the outfield, more range in the infield. We're going to make routine plays at a better clip than we've done in the past.

"I'm not saying that we were bad at it, but we all know that our margin of error is very slim. We play in a lot of tight ballgames. We have shown the ability to pitch. So one hiccup on defense can be game-changing. They (the front office) have done a good job that can really defend behind our pitching staff."

If you're wondering, yes, Cash says he likes this team.

"A lot," he said. "I like it a lot. It's been the best spring of the four years that I've been there. A lot of that comes from the young players that come in, the energy they bring.

"When you see a group of big league players diving around the infield, diving in the outfield, hitting cutoff men. We're working in the right direction."

So what's a good number? Sixty-three, which assures the Rays that they won't lose 100? Seventy, which would bring the team within 10 wins of last. year? Eighty-two, which would be Cash's first .500 season? More, which should put Cash in the running for Manager of the Year?

Ask Cash if he listens to the outside talk, and he makes a brief, snorting noise. No, he doesn't care that much what a media guy from Los Angeles things. Or one from New York.

According to Cash, his expectations are the same as they always have been. Make fun of him for it if you wish. But the guy expects to win a decent amount of the time.

"They haven't changed," Cash says of his expectations. "To go win. Competitive in this division is not good enough. We know we have good teams we're playing against. We need to win.

"We need to find ways to win on the road better. We need to find a way to come out on top of these close games, the late inning games. We've been in there a lot the last three years. but being in there isn't enough. We've got to win -- on the road in tough environments. We're going to learn a lot the first two weeks."

Give Cash credit. He isn't backing down, and he isn't blaming the front office for its fire sale.

Will it be enough? You decide. But the guy in charge still believes. That's something. Isn't it?

Look around, and you see low expectations everywhere with this team.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller March 28, 2018 at 3:09 pm

Of course there is no reason to “hammer” Cash for being positive. He might as well turn in his resignation today if he acted otherwise. I respect him for saying all the right things, especially at this point in the season. I don’t know what type of bosses you had in your career but I have found that being brutally honest when you disagree with the boss is not always the best policy. Like I said Cash is being smart about how he is handling things. He’s not going to tell either one of us how he really feels. And if he is in total agreement with how front office is handling the team then more power to him.

I can have an opinion about these matters can’t I? That’s what this website is all about so there is no reason for you to hammer me either for saying what I might think is going on. If you prefer I don’t state my opinion then I’ll take a step back.


Gary Shelton March 28, 2018 at 4:47 pm

I wasn’t trying to hammer you, Larry. Your opinion is always welcome. I just reserve judgment to have my own? Cool?

I often disagreed with my bosses. May have been a failing of mine.


Larry Beller March 28, 2018 at 6:09 am

I give Cash credit for knowing what to say and how to act to keep his job. He would be committing suicide if he criticized the front office. I like that he says he will find out a lot in the first 2 weeks. If he was completely honest he would say he really doesn’t know what to expect from this team. He’s hoping for the best of course and trying to be positive but deep down he’s preparing for the worst. But of course he can’t say that. He’s being smart about it.

Every year, the Rays love to talk about how they are going to be great defensively. I don’t see how they are better. Didn’t they just trade their gold glove 3rd baseman? Unless Mallex Smith has reinvented himself, anywhere he plays in the outfield he is a liability. Same with Brad Miller on the infield. But it’s spring. Nobody has made any errors yet so might as well talk about the great defense because there is nothing good to say about the offense which will be anemic.


Gary Shelton March 28, 2018 at 8:51 am

I know Cash. I do not think he was a man trying to keep his job by going with the company line.

I think when life deals you a hand, it is better to try to see positives than negatives. If anything, I think that’s what’s going on here. You see a team team that will have to live on pitching and defense, and so you talk about those aspects. I’m not going to hammer a guy for being optimistic. I asked him what he thought, and he told me.

They are better defensively because they got Corey Dickerson out of left field, for one.

I don’t think either your or I knows what Cash is feeling “down deep.” That’s just guesswork. Granted, I don’t know what’s going down deep, either. But I’m not going to hammer a guy for thinking positive.

I’m on record that I don’t think this team will be good. But Cash is allowed to think how he wants. The games will come soon enough.


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