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Joe Maddon was a great manager and any team would be happy to have him. However, there are some early signs that Kevin Cash is the manager the Rays had always hoped for, at least between the white lines.

When we talk about what makes a Maddon a great manager, the most common traits that are brought up are that he creates an atmosphere that players love to be a part of and can thrive in and on the field he is a progressive thinker willing to think outside the box. However, it is the latter which has always been a bit murkier.

Sure, Maddon is an out-of-the-box thinker who will bat a pitcher 8th or intentionally walk Josh Hamilton with the bases loaded. But that is also the Rays’ M.O. and the reason the Rays hired Maddon was because he had similar ideas on managing the game and he was willing to buy in to their way of doing things. But at the same time, Maddon didn’t always buy in.

Maddon had his charts and numbers and he used them often. But he also went off-script from time to time. For example, the front office prefers the best relievers be used in the most important situations and in the most ideal matchups, and that may not be the 9th inning. However, for the most part, Maddon always had a closer and that closer always worked the 9th inning. In 2013, Fernando Rodney made 68 appearances and only two of those came before the 9th inning.

Now say hello to Kevin Cash and what he plans to do now that Jake McGee is back.

Of course we need to see this actually happen. Even Maddon talked the party-line to the media. But this sounds more serious than the occasional Maddon “we don’t use the C-word” *wink-wink* quote.

It is still early in Cash’s managerial career and we need to let this play out a little longer. But as of now, Cash seems more like an extension of the front office than Maddon ever did.

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5 Comments

  1. Starmand says:

    Who is this Joe Maddon ye speak of?

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  2. Gus says:

    Cash manages with a lot more urgency that Maddon. And when he makes a mistake (like he probably did with Ordirizzi in Minnesota), he admits it and doesn't try to spin it as part of "the process".

    I loved Maddon. But Cash has been refreshing. Certainly his feel for pinch hitting it out of this world.

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    • Joe Dunn says:

      Agree and it seems far fewer batters are striking out LOOKING - - - these guys are swinging the damned bat!!

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      • OriginalTom says:

        For what its worth, the data appears to confirm your observation. Fangraphs has data on how often a team swings at pitches in the zone. The Rays were in the 64-65% range from 2011-2013 jumped to 66% last year and are at 67.5% this season.

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  3. Dave L says:

    When you are literally on your honeymoon with your second wife, its frankly still to early to say if this will be better than your first marriage..

    Especially when your evidence is based on difficult promises she is making that broke your heart before by your ex.

    Relief pitchers arent just wind up dolls that can deployed at the managers whim on the drop of a hat. They need to be warmed up. They have mental routines although fantastically compressed, similar to what a starter does.

    I agree 100% its ideal to put your best available rested relief arm against the heart of the order in the late innings in a tight lead be it 7,8 or 9.
    regardless

    Cash will find out as his predecessor did that its great in theory but difficult in practice.

    If you dont have a relief ace like a Soriano or Balfour fixated on the prestige, or more importantly $$ reward (agent influenced) based on the artificial stat of "save", then its easier to implement a fluid, elastic bullpen.

    It seems from the outside looking in that McGee and Box are moldable lumps of young clay who will willingly accept any role and excel and can have no expectations as to thier roles and will reject the normal organic bullpen pecking order. So it seems

    Good luck Kevin and props to Cork to going out on a limb ro predict that the Rays Cash era will be to bullpen management what the Maddon era (not Maddon only of course) was to defensive alignments

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