ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The Baseball Writers’ Association of America has announced Kevin Cash as the winner of the 2020 American League Manager of the Year Award. Cash received 22 first-place votes, five second-place votes and one third-place votes for a total of 126 points in the 5-3-1 scoring system.
Cash is the second manager in Tampa Bay Rays history to win the award, following Joe Maddon in 2008 and 2011. Cash led the Rays to a 40-20 (.667) record in the shortened 2020 season, the best winning pct. in franchise history. He captured his first division title as a manager and steered the Rays to a second consecutive postseason and third straight winning season. This was the fourth consecutive season the Rays improved their winning pct., all under his watch.
Albeit in a shortened season, Cash’s .667 winning pct. was the third-highest for a BBWAA Manager of the Year winner since the award was introduced in 1983. It trailed Lou Piniella (.716) of the Seattle Mariners in 2001 and Joe Torre (.704) of the New York Yankees in 1998.
Cash finished third in the BBWAA’s AL Manager of the Year voting in each of the previous two seasons. He becomes the fifth AL manager to record three consecutive top three finishes, joining Minnesota’s Ron Gardenhire (2002-04, 2008-10), Los Angeles’ Mike Scioscia (2007-09), Oakland’s Art Howe (1999–2002) and Oakland’s Tony La Russa (1988-90).
Cash becomes one of seven skippers to win the BBWAA’s AL Manager of the Year Award at age 42 (or younger), joining Minnesota’s Rocco Baldelli (37) in 2019, Cleveland’s Eric Wedge (39) in 2007, Chicago’s Ozzie Guillén (41) in 2005, New York’s Buck Showalter (38) in 1994, Minnesota’s Tom Kelly (40) in 1991 and Chicago’s Tony La Russa (38) in 1983.
Cash’s club survived 15 different players being placed on the injured list in the shortened season, excluding the COVID-19 Related IL. This included three from their season-opening starting rotation, seven of their planned Opening Day bullpen and four starting position players. The injured list peaked at 13 players on September 1, tying the club record. From August 9–September 1, their injured list grew from four to 13 players—and they went a majors-best 18-4 (.818) over that stretch.
Cash used 59 different batting orders in 60 games, tied with Scott Servais of the Seattle Mariners for most in the majors. He used seven pitchers who entered spring training as non-roster invites, including five for at least 25 innings. He used 12 different starting pitchers, tied for 4th in the majors behind the Boston Red Sox (16), Atlanta Braves (14) and Miami Marlins (13). He used 12 different pitchers to record a save, tying the major league record held by the 1973 Texas Rangers.
His career 454-416 (.522) record is the best of any manager in Rays history. He was hired in December 2014 and is baseball’s third-longest tenured manager with his current team, behind Oakland’s Bob Melvin and Cleveland’s Terry Francona.
In the postseason, Cash led the Rays to the second World Series berth in franchise history (2008) and became the youngest manager to reach the World Series since Ozzie Guillén (41) led the Chicago White Sox to a sweep over the Houston Astros in 2005. Cash became the eighth manager in major league history to lead his hometown team to the World Series—and only the second in the last 30 years, joining Brooklyn native Joe Torre, who led the Yankees to six World Series from 1996–2003. The others include St. Louis’ Whitey Herzog (1985, 1987), Milwaukee’s Harvey Kuenn (1982), Philadelphia’s Dallas Green (1980), St. Louis’ Red Schoendienst (1967, 1968), St. Louis’ Johnny Keane (1964) and Pittsburgh’s Bill McKechnie (1925).
Cash became the 12th man to lead his team to a pennant and win AL Manager of the Year in the same season. Most recently, this was achieved by Cleveland’s Terry Francona in 2016 and Tampa Bay’s Joe Maddon in 2008.