The Tampa Bay Rays named their new manager to replace Joe Maddon today, with the new face having a Tennessee Smokies tie. Kevin Cash will helm the 2015 edition of the Rays, his first Big League managerial position. Cash was a catcher on the 2002 Smokies squad.
In 55 games with the Smokies, the catcher hit .277 (59-213) with 38 runs scored, 15 doubles, one triple, eight homers and 44 RBI. He would later be promoted to the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs before receiving a September call-up from the Toronto Blue Jays. 2002 marked the final season that the Smokies would be affiliated with Toronto before becoming aligned with the St. Louis Cardinals for two seasons beginning in 2003.
Cash went on to play in 246 Major League contests over eight seasons with the Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Houston Astros, combining for a .183 average (117-641) with 12 homers and 58 RBI. He would go on to become an advanced scout for the Cleveland Indians before serving as the bullpen coach with the Tribe in each of the past two seasons.
He will be one of two former Smokies players to currently be a Big League manager, joining 2006 Smokies backstop Joe Girardi. In addition, 2009 Smokies manager Ryne Sandberg is the current manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Smokies franchise has a great history with former Major League skippers, with Hall of Famers Earl Weaver and Tony La Russa leading the club at one point before going on to become two of the greatest managers in the baseball modern era.
The official hiring release from the Tampa Bay Rays can be found by clicking here.