Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash is the Rays’ pick to replace Joe Maddon as manager, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
Cash was one of three finalists for the job along with Royals bench coach Don Wakamatsu and not-yet-officially-retired player Raul Ibanez, but Ibanez removed himself from consideration due to personal reasons.
Cash is just 36 years old and last played in the majors with the Red Sox in 2010. He was a good-glove, no-hit catcher who logged parts of eight seasons in the big leagues with five different teams, never cracking 200 plate appearances in a season while batting .183 overall.
He retired following the 2011 season and took a scouting job with the Blue Jays before joining manager Terry Francona’s coaching staff in Cleveland for the 2013 season.
Raul Ibanez, who was one of three finalists for the Rays’ managerial opening, has withdrawn his name from the running due to undisclosed “family considerations.”
That leaves Kevin Cash and Don Wakamatsu as the two remaining finalists, assuming the Rays don’t add another name to the mix to replace Ibanez.
Ibanez hasn’t officially announced his retirement as a player yet, but hit just .167 in 90 games for the Angels and Royals this year at age 42.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays’ managerial search — which has played out publicly and at length, akin to a game show or something, enters the lightning round today, as the teal begins final interviews with their final three candidates.
The candidates: Kevin Cash, Raul Ibanez and Don Wakamatsu. Wakamatsu goes first because he won the coin toss back stage and chose not to defer. Or whatever.
The Rays are believed to want a manager in place before the Winter Meetings. Everyone flies to San Diego for that on Sunday, so there should be news this week.