Should Cash be on the hot seat with Rays?

by Gary Shelton on June 28, 2016 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

The team went crash, so should the results be on Cash?

The team went crash, so should the results be on Cash?

Tuesday, 6 a.m.

Another town, and Kevin Cash's chair would be on fire.

Another team, and the front office is measuring his head to see if it fits on a post.

Here, there is patience. Here, there is belief. Here, there is calm.

Too much patience. Too much belief. Too much calm.

For goodness sakes, in dismal times, it would be nice to see a little outrage. It would be nice to hear a raised voice or a slammed fist. I don't think it's Cash's fault, either, but it might be nice if someone argued with me.

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It is hours before the game, and Matt Silverman leans on a dugout rail on the field. Silverman, the Rays' president of baseball operations, is talking about everyone being in this disappointment together. Put down the pitchforks. Douse the torches. No firings are imminent around here.

“Up and down the organization, we're all responsible,” Silverman said. “The players, the coaches, the front office. We're all looking in the mirror to see what we can do to right the ship."

The ship? The Rays are taking on water, if you want to know the truth, and the sharks are circling.  This ship is the Titanic, and more and more, the passengers look like chum. No pitching. No catching. Slow infielders. AA outfielders. And so forth.

Should any manager be expected to win with that?

Here's the thing. With most of their outfielders hurting, the Rays are a less dangerous, less athletic baseball team. But they still aren't good, and if the team never had to use a band-aid, it would be in last place. There are too many problems elsewhere.

If you are in control, then, what do you do about manager Kevin Cash?

Should he be retained? Or retrained?

First things first: Good baseball managers are fired all the time. Joe Torre was fired twice. Bobby Cox. Tony LaRussa. Sparky Anderson. Billy Martin. And so forth. Sometimes it's desperation. Sometimes it's not knowing what else to do. Sometimes it's a general manager trying to confuse the hunting dogs.

Of course, managers aren't as large as they used to be. Once, they were the sound of their franchises. Now, they're a piece of a front office.

Still, it isn't as if Cash has cost his team during this streak. Oh, you can quibble about the way he uses his bullpen or how many relievers he goes through. But his main flaws are that he didn't make .200 hitters Ted Williams, and he couldn't win with a starting pitcher who has an ERA that reads like a shooting guard's average.

So it's easy to understand that this isn't the Rays' way. The Rays like to present their entire organization as one being. They don't fire coaches in the middle of a season. Only once in the history of the franchise have they fired a manager during a season (Larry Rothschild, 14 games into the 2001 season.) Unless a manager has a meltdown, he's likely to get the entire season with Tampa Bay.

Also, there is this: Cash has three years left on his contract and an estimated $1 million a year. Do you see this team eating $3 million? Me, neither.

After a year and a half? Cash is probably a C manager in charge of a D roster. The Rays would get very little feedback if they replaced him. But if they don't think its Cash's fault, if they think he's still getting good effort out of bad players, then why should they?

Think of it like this: if the Rays have chosen to stick by hitting coach Derek Shelton, a man who has been ripped repeatedly, then why should they fire Cash. In Shelton's case, he isn't popular, and he hasn't been a success at turning average hitters into very good ones. It would be a cheap, easy move.

Yet, no matter what you think of Shelton, the Rays have always believed he's doing a good job. So they've kept him.

Same goes with Cash. Whether you think he's doing a good job or not, his bosses do.

It will be interesting to see how this season plays out. Can the Rays stick with a manager on pace to lose more than 90 games? Can they get a stadium built?

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