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Indians bullpen coach Cash a finalist for Rays manager

MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- The Tampa Bay Rays have whittled their managerial candidates list from 10 to three, and Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash remains in play.

Cash, a Tampa native, joins Royals bench coach Don Wakamatsu and 19-year Major League veteran Raul Ibanez as the three finalists. The Rays have said all along that they plan to have their new manager in place by the Winter Meetings. So while a decision might not come before Thanksgiving, it will come relatively soon.

CLEVELAND -- The Tampa Bay Rays have whittled their managerial candidates list from 10 to three, and Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash remains in play.

Cash, a Tampa native, joins Royals bench coach Don Wakamatsu and 19-year Major League veteran Raul Ibanez as the three finalists. The Rays have said all along that they plan to have their new manager in place by the Winter Meetings. So while a decision might not come before Thanksgiving, it will come relatively soon.

Tribe manager Terry Francona said at season's end that he would not stand in the way of any of his coaches getting a Major League managerial opportunity elsewhere, and Cash's work behind the scenes with the Indians has drawn both internal raves and external attention as a rising star in the industry. In addition to interviewing with the Rays, Cash was also a finalist for the Rangers' vacancy, which eventually went to former Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister.

Cash is a former big league catcher, having spent parts of eight seasons with the Blue Jays, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees and Astros. After hanging up his mitt, he served as an advanced scout for the Blue Jays during the 2012 season and joined Francona's staff in 2013.

By and large, Tribe players love working with the 36-year-old Cash because of his preparedness and intelligence. He was the one who persuaded the Indians to target Yan Gomes in the trade that sent Esmil Rogers to Toronto -- a trade that also netted Mike Aviles and has been an absolute steal for the Indians.

Of the three candidates remaining in the Rays' search, Wakamatsu is the only one with managerial experience. If Cash gets the job, he would be the big leagues' youngest skipper.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Cleveland Indians