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Rays acquire Yandy Díaz in 3-team trade

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-The Tampa Bay Rays have completed a three-team trade with the Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners, acquiring infielder Yandy Díaz and minor league right-handed pitcher Cole Sulser from Cleveland in exchange for first baseman Jake Bauers (to Cleveland) and cash considerations (to Seattle).

In addition, the Indians traded designated hitter Edwin Encarnación and a Competitive Balance Round B draft pick to Seattle, and the Mariners traded first baseman Carlos Santana and cash considerations to Cleveland.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-The Tampa Bay Rays have completed a three-team trade with the Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners, acquiring infielder Yandy Díaz and minor league right-handed pitcher Cole Sulser from Cleveland in exchange for first baseman Jake Bauers (to Cleveland) and cash considerations (to Seattle).

In addition, the Indians traded designated hitter Edwin Encarnación and a Competitive Balance Round B draft pick to Seattle, and the Mariners traded first baseman Carlos Santana and cash considerations to Cleveland.

Díaz, 27, has spent parts of the last two seasons in the majors, appearing in 88 games with 71 starts (42-3B, 20-DH, 6-1B, 3-LF) and batting .283/.361/.366 (75-for-265) with 13 doubles, three triples, one home run and 28 RBI. In 2018, he appeared in 39 games over two stints with the Indians and hit .312/.375/.422 (34-for-109). He spent the remainder of the season with Triple-A Columbus, batting .293/.409/.388 (102-for-348) with three home runs and 40 RBI in 98 games. He finished the season as the International League leader in on-base pct., ranked second with 70 walks and sixth in batting avg.

Over parts of five minor league seasons, Díaz has hit .311/.413/.414 (585-for-1,879) with 26 home runs and 224 RBI. In 2017, he was the Indians Opening Day third baseman and appeared in 49 games for the club, splitting the season between the majors and Triple-A. In 2016, he was named IL Rookie of the Year, leading the league with a .399 on-base pct. and ranking second with a .325 avg. Also that season, he represented the World team in the Futures Game at Petco Park and was named to Baseball America's Triple-A All-Star Team. In 2015, he was named to both the Eastern League midseason and postseason All-Star teams.

Díaz was signed by the Indians as an international free agent out of Cuba in September 2013. He played professionally in Cuba and was a member of the Cuban National Team for several years. Born in Sagua la Grande, Cuba, he will be the 11th Cuban-born player in Rays history.

Sulser, 28, split last season between Double-A Akron and Columbus, going 8-4 with a 3.86 ERA (60.2-IP, 26-ER) and 95 strikeouts in 47 appearances, all in relief. He has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen over the last two seasons, combining for a 3.27 ERA (124-IP, 45-ER) in 92 apps. He was selected by the Indians in the 25th round of the 2013 June Draft out of Dartmouth College and is 20-26 with a 4.02 ERA (378.1-IP, 169-ER) in 176 apps (37 starts) over five minor league seasons.

Bauers, 23, hit .201/.316/.384 (65-for-323) with 11 home runs and 48 RBI in 96 games for the Rays last season, his first career major league action. He was recalled from Triple-A Durham on June 7 and remained with the club for the remainder of the season. He was the youngest player to appear for the 2018 Rays, a team that featured 23 rookies. When he debuted at 22 years, 244 days, he was the youngest position player to appear in a game for the Rays since Wil Myers in 2013. He was selected by the San Diego Padres in the seventh round of the 2013 June Draft and was acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade in December 2014.

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays mourn loss of Jim Hoff

Yesterday, longtime Tampa Bay Rays field coordinator Jim Hoff passed away unexpectedly in Tampa. He was 73.

"With heavy hearts, we mourn the untimely death of Jim Hoff," said Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Erik Neander. "Hoffy spent more than 50 years in professional baseball, and served as our field coordinator for the last 17. During his long career, he made a profound impact on countless players, coaches and staff. He cared deeply for all of them, for the organizations in which he worked, and for the game of baseball. Hoffy was a great teacher and an even better person, beloved by all who knew him, and we will miss him terribly. The entire Rays organization sends our thoughts and sympathies to his family."

Yesterday, longtime Tampa Bay Rays field coordinator Jim Hoff passed away unexpectedly in Tampa. He was 73.

"With heavy hearts, we mourn the untimely death of Jim Hoff," said Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Erik Neander. "Hoffy spent more than 50 years in professional baseball, and served as our field coordinator for the last 17. During his long career, he made a profound impact on countless players, coaches and staff. He cared deeply for all of them, for the organizations in which he worked, and for the game of baseball. Hoffy was a great teacher and an even better person, beloved by all who knew him, and we will miss him terribly. The entire Rays organization sends our thoughts and sympathies to his family."

Hoff totaled 51 seasons in professional baseball, and joined the Rays organization as field coordinator entering 2002. Prior to that, he served the Toronto Blue Jays for four seasons, as field coordinator and director of Minor League development. He also was field coordinator for the Cincinnati Reds from 1984-90. He managed in the Reds organization for 11 seasons (1973-83).

A former infielder, Hoff played in the Reds farm system from 1967-72. He graduated from University of Detroit High School in 1963 and from Xavier University in 1967, and later attended Notre Dame Law School. He is survived by his two sons, Brian and Matthew, and grandson, Hunter.

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays finalize 2019 Major League coaching staff

The Tampa Bay Rays and Manager Kevin Cash today finalized their Major League coaching staff for 2019. Paul Hoover has been promoted to Major League field coordinator, and Jonathan Erlichman will serve as process and analytics coach. In addition, the Rays hired Justin Su'a as Major League mental skills coach.

Hoover, 42, becomes the second Major League field coordinator in club history, following Rocco Baldelli, who filled the newly-created role in 2018 prior to being hired as the Minnesota Twins manager on Oct. 25. He spent the past six seasons (2013-18) as the Rays Minor League catching coordinator, after entering the coaching ranks in 2012 as the manager of the Gulf Coast League Rays. The 2019 season will mark his 22nd season in professional baseball and eighth in a coaching or managing capacity.

The Tampa Bay Rays and Manager Kevin Cash today finalized their Major League coaching staff for 2019. Paul Hoover has been promoted to Major League field coordinator, and Jonathan Erlichman will serve as process and analytics coach. In addition, the Rays hired Justin Su'a as Major League mental skills coach.

Hoover, 42, becomes the second Major League field coordinator in club history, following Rocco Baldelli, who filled the newly-created role in 2018 prior to being hired as the Minnesota Twins manager on Oct. 25. He spent the past six seasons (2013-18) as the Rays Minor League catching coordinator, after entering the coaching ranks in 2012 as the manager of the Gulf Coast League Rays. The 2019 season will mark his 22nd season in professional baseball and eighth in a coaching or managing capacity.

The former catcher spent 14 seasons playing professionally, including parts of seven years in the Majors with the Devil Rays (2001-02), Florida Marlins (2006-08) and Philadelphia Phillies (2009-10). He made his Major League debut on Sept. 8, 2001 at Oakland, delivering a pinch-hit single in his first at-bat. He appeared in eight games over his two seasons with the Devil Rays, and batted .250 (25-for-100) in 40 Major League games. Hoover becomes the sixth man to join the Rays coaching staff after playing for Tampa Bay, following Baldelli, Wade Boggs, Cash, Dave Martinez and Ozzie Timmons. He was drafted by Tampa Bay in the 23rd round of the 1997 June Draft out of Kent State University. He and his wife, Shannon Cunningham, have two daughters.

Erlichman (URR-lick-min), 28, enters his seventh season with the Rays, and sixth full-time. He spent the last two seasons (2017-18) as director of analytics, overseeing the club's research efforts and coordinating improvements to decision-making processes. Erlichman joined the Rays as an intern in January 2013, before earning promotions to assistant and then analyst in baseball research and development. He holds a degree in mathematics from Princeton University, and resides in St. Petersburg.

Su'a (SOO-uh), 36, joins the Rays from the Boston Red Sox, where he served as mental skills coordinator for the past four seasons (2015-18). He is also currently in his third season as mental performance coach for the NFL's Cleveland Browns. Prior to his time with the Red Sox and Browns, he served in mental conditioning roles at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and for the U.S. Army. A former pitcher at Brigham Young University, Su'a earned his master's in sports psychology from the University of Utah. He resides in Bradenton with his wife, Melissa, and their three children.

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays announce three invites to Spring Training

The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to terms with the following players on Minor League contracts with an invitation to Major League Spring Training: catcher Anthony Bemboom, left-handed pitcher Ryan Merritt and outfielder Jake Smolinski. In addition, the Rays have agreed to terms with left-handed pitcher Ryan Sherriff on a Minor League contract.

Bemboom, 28, has spent parts of seven Minor League seasons in the Los Angeles Angels (2012-16) and Colorado Rockies (2017-18) organizations, batting .237/.312/.351 (363-for-1532) with 31 home runs and 197 RBI. He spent the 2018 season with Triple-A Albuquerque, his second full-season at the Triple-A level, batting .232/.339/.351 (49-for-211) with 5 home runs and 29 RBI in 70 games (62 starts). He also threw out 14 of 38 (36.8 percent) potential base stealers last season. He was selected by the Angels in the 22nd round of the 2012 June Draft out of Creighton University.

The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to terms with the following players on Minor League contracts with an invitation to Major League Spring Training: catcher Anthony Bemboom, left-handed pitcher Ryan Merritt and outfielder Jake Smolinski. In addition, the Rays have agreed to terms with left-handed pitcher Ryan Sherriff on a Minor League contract.

Bemboom, 28, has spent parts of seven Minor League seasons in the Los Angeles Angels (2012-16) and Colorado Rockies (2017-18) organizations, batting .237/.312/.351 (363-for-1532) with 31 home runs and 197 RBI. He spent the 2018 season with Triple-A Albuquerque, his second full-season at the Triple-A level, batting .232/.339/.351 (49-for-211) with 5 home runs and 29 RBI in 70 games (62 starts). He also threw out 14 of 38 (36.8 percent) potential base stealers last season. He was selected by the Angels in the 22nd round of the 2012 June Draft out of Creighton University.

Merritt, 26, has spent his entire career in the Cleveland Indians organization, going 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA (31.2-IP, 6-ER) in 9 appearances (5 starts) in the Majors from 2016-17. He started Game 5 of the 2016 American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, his second Major League start, throwing 4.1 scoreless innings in Cleveland's 3-0, pennant-clinching win. He spent the 2018 season with Triple-A Columbus, going 3-3 with a 3.79 ERA (71.1-IP, 30-ER), 52 SO and only 2 walks in 15 appearances (13 starts). He was selected by the Indians in the 16th round of the 2011 June Draft and has a 3.37 ERA (878.2-IP, 329-ER) across eight Minor League seasons.

Smolinski, 29, has appeared in the Majors in parts of five seasons with the Texas Rangers (2014-15) and the Oakland Athletics (2015-18). He is a career .235/.299/.363 (143-for-608) hitter with 16 home runs and 67 RBI in 234 games (165 starts; 66-CF, 61-LF, 38-RF). He has missed significant time the previous two seasons, appearing in only 16 games for Oakland in 2017 (right shoulder surgery) and 19 games in 2018 (blood clot in left calf). He was selected by the Washington Nationals in the second round of the 2007 June Draft and has hit .267/.355/.414 (803-for-3013) with 200 doubles, 73 home runs and 361 RBI across 12 Minor League seasons.

Sherriff, 28, has spent parts of two seasons in the Majors with the St. Louis Cardinals (2017-18), going 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA (20.0-IP, 9-ER) in 18 appearances. He appeared in a combined 10 games between St. Louis and Triple-A Memphis in 2018 before undergoing Tommy John surgery on June 5. He was selected by the Cardinals in the 28th round of the 2011 June Draft out of West Los Angeles College and has a 3.06 ERA (485.0-IP, 165-ER) across eight Minor League seasons.

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays hire Rodney Linares as third-base coach

The Tampa Bay Rays have hired Rodney Linares as third-base coach as part of Manager Kevin Cash's coaching staff for 2019.

Linares, 41, enters his 23rd season in professional baseball, 21st as a coach or manager, and his first assignment at the Major League level. He joins the Rays organization from the Houston Astros, where he spent the past 21 seasons. In 2018, he managed Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies to an 82-57 (.590) record, winning the Pacific Coast League North Division title, and was named the PCL's Best Manager Prospect by Baseball America. He is currently managing Águilas de Cibaeñas in the Dominican Winter League.

The Tampa Bay Rays have hired Rodney Linares as third-base coach as part of Manager Kevin Cash's coaching staff for 2019.

Linares, 41, enters his 23rd season in professional baseball, 21st as a coach or manager, and his first assignment at the Major League level. He joins the Rays organization from the Houston Astros, where he spent the past 21 seasons. In 2018, he managed Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies to an 82-57 (.590) record, winning the Pacific Coast League North Division title, and was named the PCL's Best Manager Prospect by Baseball America. He is currently managing Águilas de Cibaeñas in the Dominican Winter League.

"Rodney has impacted so many players during his time with the Astros, including José Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and J.D. Martínez," said Cash. "The amount of positive feedback we received throughout this process made it clear that he is a very high quality individual. In addition to his third-base coaching duties, he will work with our infielders and bring many years of managing experience to our staff."

He becomes the seventh third-base coach in franchise history, following Greg Riddoch (1998-99), Billy Hatcher (2000-01), Terry Collins (2001), Tom Foley (2002-14), Charlie Montoyo (2015-17) and Matt Quatraro (2018). Quatraro was promoted from third base to bench coach on Oct. 31, replacing Montoyo.

Prior to Fresno, Linares managed Double-A Corpus Christi (2015-17), Class-A Lancaster (2012-14), Class-A Lexington (2010-11) and Rookie-level Greeneville (2007-09). In his 12 seasons as a Minor League manager, he compiled a 761-694 (.523) record and guided his teams to the postseason in six of the past seven seasons. He led Corpus Christi to the two winningest seasons in franchise history (2015-16), won a pair of California League championships (2012, 2014) and earned each league's Manager of the Year honors (2012, 2015). The former infielder played parts of two seasons in the Minors in the Detroit Tigers (1997) and Astros (1998) systems before beginning his coaching career in 1999 at the Astros Dominican academy. In 2005, he was appointed hitting coach at Lexington.

Linares and his wife, Rosanna, have two children, Steven and Ryan, and reside in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. His father, Julio Linares, is the Astros senior advisor for Latin American development and has been part of the organization since 1973.

On Oct. 25, Major League field coordinator Rocco Baldelli and Montoyo were hired to manage the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays, respectively. That day, the Rays became the first club to have two Major League coaches hired away as managers in the same offseason since the Florida Marlins, shortly after winning the 1997 World Series. The expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays hired Marlins pitching coach Larry Rothschild and the Chicago White Sox hired bench coach Jerry Manuel.

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays add five players to 40-man roster; designate Cron for assignment

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- In advance of tonight's reserve list deadline, the Tampa Bay Rays have selected five players to their 40-man roster: left-handed pitcher Kyle Bird, left-handed pitcher Brock Burke, right-handed pitcher Ian Gibaut, outfielder Joe McCarthy and outfielder Jesús Sánchez. In addition, the Rays designated first baseman C.J. Cron, right-handed pitcher Oliver Drake and left-handed pitcher Hoby Milner for assignment. Right-handed pitcher José Mujica has been outrighted to the Minor Leagues and is no longer on the 40-man roster. Tonight's moves bring the Rays 40-man roster to its full capacity.

Bird, 25, went 3-3 with a 2.39 ERA (75.1-IP, 20-ER) in a combined 43 games (6 starts) between Double-A Montgomery and Durham. He limited batters to a .198 batting average (52-for-263) and recorded 88 strikeouts for a 10.51 strikeouts per 9 innings ratio. Currently he is pitching for Yaquis de Obregon in the Mexican Winter League, where he is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA (18-IP, 4-ER) in 18 relief apps. Over five minor league seasons, he is 15-7 with a 2.64 ERA (307.1-IP, 90-ER) in 185 games (6 starts). Bird was selected in the 35th round of the 2014 June Draft out of Flagler College, after transferring from Florida State University. He is a graduate of Clay High School in Green Cove Springs, Fla.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- In advance of tonight's reserve list deadline, the Tampa Bay Rays have selected five players to their 40-man roster: left-handed pitcher Kyle Bird, left-handed pitcher Brock Burke, right-handed pitcher Ian Gibaut, outfielder Joe McCarthy and outfielder Jesús Sánchez. In addition, the Rays designated first baseman C.J. Cron, right-handed pitcher Oliver Drake and left-handed pitcher Hoby Milner for assignment. Right-handed pitcher José Mujica has been outrighted to the Minor Leagues and is no longer on the 40-man roster. Tonight's moves bring the Rays 40-man roster to its full capacity.

Bird, 25, went 3-3 with a 2.39 ERA (75.1-IP, 20-ER) in a combined 43 games (6 starts) between Double-A Montgomery and Durham. He limited batters to a .198 batting average (52-for-263) and recorded 88 strikeouts for a 10.51 strikeouts per 9 innings ratio. Currently he is pitching for Yaquis de Obregon in the Mexican Winter League, where he is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA (18-IP, 4-ER) in 18 relief apps. Over five minor league seasons, he is 15-7 with a 2.64 ERA (307.1-IP, 90-ER) in 185 games (6 starts). Bird was selected in the 35th round of the 2014 June Draft out of Flagler College, after transferring from Florida State University. He is a graduate of Clay High School in Green Cove Springs, Fla.

Burke, 22, was named the 2018 Rays Minor League Pitcher of the Year after going 9-6 with a 3.08 ERA (137.1-IP, 47-ER) in 25 apps (22 starts) between Charlotte and Montgomery. He led Rays minor leaguers with 158 strikeouts-14th most in all of minor league baseball-while ranking fourth in ERA and tied for fourth in wins. He was named Rays Minor League Pitcher of the Month in July, going a combined 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA (22-IP, 4-ER) at both levels. Following his July 9 promotion, he went 6-1 with a 1.95 ERA (55.1-IP, 12-ER) in 9 starts for the Biscuits, including a 4-0 mark with a 1.35 ERA (33.1-IP, 5-ER) in his final 5 regular-season starts. Burke was selected in the third round of the 2014 June Draft out of Evergreen (Colo.) High School.

Gibaut, 25, went 4-3 with a 2.09 ERA (56.0-IP, 13-ER) and 14 saves in 48 appearances for Durham, his first action at the Triple-A level. His 14 saves ranked first among Rays minor leaguers and fourth in the International League. He was selected to the IL midseason All-Star Team and is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 29 prospect in the Rays organization. Selected by the Rays in the 11th round of the 2015 June Draft out of Tulane University, he is 16-7 with a 2.25 ERA (203.2-IP, 51-ER) in 142 appearances over four minor league seasons.

McCarthy, 24, hit .269/.377/.513 (43-for-160) with 13 doubles, 8 home runs and 25 RBI in 47 games with Durham in an injury-shortened 2018 season. He played for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League, batting .239/.375/.370 (11-for-46) with 1 double, 3 home runs and 8 RBI in 13 games. He is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 17 prospect in the Rays organization. Selected by the Rays in the fifth round of the 2015 June Draft out of University of Virginia, he has hit .277/.390/.422 (324-for-1169) with 72 doubles, 23 home runs and 164 RBI in 333 games over four minor league seasons.

Sánchez, 21, split the season between Charlotte and Montgomery, batting .282/.324/.433 (129-for-457) with 32 doubles, 11 home runs and 75 RBI in 117 games between the two levels. He hit .301/.331/.462 (108-for-359) in 90 games for Charlotte and was named to the FSL midseason All-Star Team before his promotion to the Double-A level on August 3. He represented the Rays in the All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park, where he started in right field for the World Team. Following the season, he was named Most Valuable Player for Charlotte by the Rays Baseball Operations department and was ranked by Baseball America as the Best Batting Prospect in the FSL in its Best Tools survey. He is currently playing for Toros del Este in the Dominican Winter League. He was signed by the Rays as a free agent in July 2014 and has hit .306/.347/.478 (424-for-1384) with 84 doubles, 21 triples, 37 home runs and 241 RBI over four minor league seasons.

Cron, 28, appeared in 140 games with 125 starts in his first season with the Rays, batting .253/.323/.493 (127-for-501) with 28 doubles, 30 home runs and 74 RBI. He established career highs in games, runs (68), hits, doubles, home runs and RBI. He was acquired by the Rays from the Los Angeles Angels in February and has hit .260/.311/.461 (485-for-1867) with 96 doubles, 89 home runs and 287 RBI across parts of five major league seasons.

Drake, 31, was claimed off waivers by the Rays from the Minnesota Twins on Nov. 1. Last season, he pitched in the majors for the Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, Angels, Toronto Blue Jays and the Twins, becoming the first player in major league history to pitch for five different teams in one season. Over a combined 44 apps in the majors last season, he went 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA (47.2-IP, 28-ER).

Milner, 27, was acquired by the Rays from the Philadelphia Phillies in July in exchange for cash considerations, and split the season between Triple-A and the majors in the Phillies and Rays organizations. He made four appearances over two stints with the Rays, recording a 6.75 ERA (2.2-IP, 2-ER). Over parts of two seasons in the majors, Milner has a 3.03 ERA (38.2-IP, 13-ER) in 51 appearances.

Mujica, 22, was limited to 13 games (12 starts) between Rookie-level GCL Rays, Class-A Charlotte and Triple-A Durham in 2018, combining to go 6-2 with a 3.75 ERA (57.2-IP, 24-ER). He underwent Tommy John surgery on Sep 11 and is expected to miss the entire 2019 season. He was signed by the Rays as a free agent in July 2012 and is 33-20 with a 3.26 ERA (453.1-IP, 164-ER) in 90 games (82 starts) over parts of six minor league seasons.

Tampa Bay Rays

Blake Snell wins American League Cy Young Award

The Baseball Writers' Association of America tonight announced left-handed pitcher Blake Snell as the winner of the 2018 American League Cy Young Award. Snell received 17 first-place votes, 11 second-place votes and two third-place votes for a total of 169 points in the 7-4-3-2-1 scoring system. Right-handed pitcher Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros finished second with 154 points.

Snell, 25, is the second pitcher in Tampa Bay Rays history to win the award, following David Price in 2012-the only Cy Young Award winners to come out of the AL East in the past 15 seasons. Snell went 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA (180.2-IP, 38-ER) and 221 strikeouts over 31 starts last season, leading the AL outright and setting club records in both wins and ERA. He becomes the youngest pitcher to win a Cy Young Award since Clayton Kershaw (25) of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, and the youngest in the AL since Félix Hernández (24) of the Seattle Mariners in 2010. 

The Baseball Writers' Association of America tonight announced left-handed pitcher Blake Snell as the winner of the 2018 American League Cy Young Award. Snell received 17 first-place votes, 11 second-place votes and two third-place votes for a total of 169 points in the 7-4-3-2-1 scoring system. Right-handed pitcher Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros finished second with 154 points.

Snell, 25, is the second pitcher in Tampa Bay Rays history to win the award, following David Price in 2012-the only Cy Young Award winners to come out of the AL East in the past 15 seasons. Snell went 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA (180.2-IP, 38-ER) and 221 strikeouts over 31 starts last season, leading the AL outright and setting club records in both wins and ERA. He becomes the youngest pitcher to win a Cy Young Award since Clayton Kershaw (25) of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, and the youngest in the AL since Félix Hernández (24) of the Seattle Mariners in 2010. 

No AL pitcher has matched Snell's combination of wins and ERA since Ron Guidry (25 wins, 1.74 ERA) of the New York Yankees in 1978. Since the advent of the designated hitter in 1973, Snell was only the third AL pitcher to record at least 20 wins and a sub-2.00 ERA, along with Guidry in 1978 and Roger Clemens (21 wins, 1.93 ERA) of the Boston Red Sox in 1990. Snell's 1.89 ERA ranked third in the AL in the DH era, behind Guidry in 1978 and Pedro Martínez (1.74) of the Red Sox in 2000-both unanimous Cy Young Award winners.

Snell was the majors' youngest 21-game winner since Kershaw in 2011 and the AL's youngest since Barry Zito of the Oakland Athletics in 2002. In the live ball era (since 1920), only three other pitchers age 25 or younger have matched his combination of wins and a ERA: Dwight Gooden (24 wins, 1.53 ERA) of the New York Mets in 1985, Vida Blue (24 wins, 1.82 ERA) of the Athletics in 1971 and Hal Newhouser (25 wins, 1.81 ERA) of the Detroit Tigers in 1945.

In addition to leading the AL in wins and ERA, Snell led the AL with a .178 opponents' average, ranked second with a 0.97 WHIP, third with 0.80 home runs per nine innings and fourth with 11.01 strikeouts per nine innings. His .178 opponents' average was the third-lowest in the AL in the DH era, behind Martínez (.167) in 2000 and Nolan Ryan (.172) of the Texas Rangers in 1991. Furthermore, Snell limited opponents to a .088 average (10-for-114) with runners in scoring position, the lowest for an AL pitcher in the DH era, ahead of Martínez (.133) in 2000.

Twelve of Snell's 31 starts came against the five AL postseason teams -- the Red Sox (4), Yankees (3), Cleveland Indians (2), Astros (2) and Athletics (1). In these 12 starts, he went 9-2 with a 2.00 ERA (72-IP, 16-ER), including eight starts allowing one run or fewer. He made five starts against a former Cy Young Award winner and went 3-0 with a 0.59 ERA (30.2-IP, 2-ER).

Snell yielded two runs or fewer in 27 of his 31 starts, most ever by an AL pitcher in the DH era, ahead of Guidry (26) in 1978. He yielded one run or fewer in 21 starts, most by an AL non-opener in the DH era ahead of Clemens (20) in 1997.

Snell went 10-1 in 14 starts at home with a 1.27 ERA (85-IP, 12-ER) -- the lowest home ERA by an AL pitcher since Ryan (1.07) of the California Angels in 1972. He yielded one earned run or fewer in 14 consecutive home starts from September 12, 2017 through August 26, 2018, the longest such streak in the majors since 1913 -- when earned runs were officially kept in both leagues, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Snell made the AL All-Star Team roster for the first time in his career and was named the AL Pitcher of the Month for both August and September, the youngest pitcher in either league to win back-to-back awards since Johan Santana (July, August, September) of the Minnesota Twins in 2004. He went 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA (26-IP, 3-ER) in five starts in August and 5-0 with a 1.26 ERA (35.2-IP, 5-ER) in six starts in September.

Over parts of three seasons in the majors, all with the Rays, Snell is 32-20 with a 2.95 ERA (399-IP, 131-ER) in 74 games (all starts). Only two pitchers have won the AL Cy Young and appeared in fewer career games than Snell at the time of their award: Clemens (69 games, 68 starts) in 1986 and Blue (57 games, 49 starts) in 1971.

Tampa Bay Rays

Blake Snell wins 2018 Warren Spahn Award

Tampa Bay pitcher named baseball's best lefty

Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays today was named the 2018 Warren Spahn Award winner as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB).
 
This is the 20th anniversary for the Warren Spahn Award, which is presented annually to MLB's top lefty. The award is based on a pitcher's wins, strikeouts and earned run average (ERA). The award is named after Oklahoman and National Baseball Hall of Famer, Warren Spahn, who holds the MLB record of 363 wins as a left-handed pitcher.
 
Snell is coming off of a season in which he led MLB in wins with a 21-5 record. His 1.89 ERA was first among lefties and ranked second in MLB. Snell also recorded 221 strikeouts, which placed him third among left-handed starters and tied for eleventh in all of baseball. 
 
"Blake posted some impressive stats in 2018," said Greg Spahn, son of the late Warren Spahn. "This award is special to our family as it not only honors the sport's best left-handed pitcher, but my dad as well. It's also a wonderful way to celebrate his career and the game of baseball."
 
This is Snell's first Warren Spahn Award.
 
"Blake Snell joins an elite list of pitchers, including current and future Hall of Famers, who have won this award," said Chuck Shirley, Warren Spahn Award Gala co-chairman. "Blake has established himself as one of the premier starters in the game and his 2018 season certainly deserves this recognition."
 
The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame partners with the Bricktown Rotary Club as the presenting sponsor of the Warren Spahn Award. 
 
Snell is only the 11th pitcher to receive the Warren Spahn Award in its 20 year history. Past winners include: Clayton Kershaw (2011, 2013, 2014, 2017), Jon Lester (2016), Dallas Keuchel (2015), Gio Gonzalez (2012); David Price (2010); CC Sabathia (2007-2009); Johan Santana (2004, 2006); Dontrelle Willis (2005); Andy Pettitte (2003); and Randy Johnson (1999-2002).
 

Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays today was named the 2018 Warren Spahn Award winner as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB).
 
This is the 20th anniversary for the Warren Spahn Award, which is presented annually to MLB's top lefty. The award is based on a pitcher's wins, strikeouts and earned run average (ERA). The award is named after Oklahoman and National Baseball Hall of Famer, Warren Spahn, who holds the MLB record of 363 wins as a left-handed pitcher.
 
Snell is coming off of a season in which he led MLB in wins with a 21-5 record. His 1.89 ERA was first among lefties and ranked second in MLB. Snell also recorded 221 strikeouts, which placed him third among left-handed starters and tied for eleventh in all of baseball. 
 
"Blake posted some impressive stats in 2018," said Greg Spahn, son of the late Warren Spahn. "This award is special to our family as it not only honors the sport's best left-handed pitcher, but my dad as well. It's also a wonderful way to celebrate his career and the game of baseball."
 
This is Snell's first Warren Spahn Award.
 
"Blake Snell joins an elite list of pitchers, including current and future Hall of Famers, who have won this award," said Chuck Shirley, Warren Spahn Award Gala co-chairman. "Blake has established himself as one of the premier starters in the game and his 2018 season certainly deserves this recognition."
 
The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame partners with the Bricktown Rotary Club as the presenting sponsor of the Warren Spahn Award. 
 
Snell is only the 11th pitcher to receive the Warren Spahn Award in its 20 year history. Past winners include: Clayton Kershaw (2011, 2013, 2014, 2017), Jon Lester (2016), Dallas Keuchel (2015), Gio Gonzalez (2012); David Price (2010); CC Sabathia (2007-2009); Johan Santana (2004, 2006); Dontrelle Willis (2005); Andy Pettitte (2003); and Randy Johnson (1999-2002).
 

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays complete 5-player trade with Mariners

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired catcher Mike Zunino, outfielder Guillermo Heredia and minor league left-handed pitcher Michael Plassmeyer from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for outfielder Mallex Smith and minor league outfielder Jake Fraley.

Zunino (zoo-NEE-no), 27, hit .201/.259/.410 (75-for-373) with 20 home runs and 44 RBI in 113 games (102 starts) last season with the Mariners, his second consecutive season with at least 20 homers and third overall. He missed time due to a pair of stints on the disabled list, missing the first 17 games of the season with a strained left oblique and from July 5-21 with a left ankle bone bruise. Over the last two seasons, his 45 home runs rank fourth among major league catchers behind Salvador Pérez (54), Gary Sánchez (51) and Yasmani Grandal (46). According to FanGraphs, since the start of the 2017 season he ranks sixth among major league catchers with 5.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Over parts of six seasons in the majors, he has hit .207/.276/.406 (391-for-1,885) with 95 home runs and 241 RBI.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired catcher Mike Zunino, outfielder Guillermo Heredia and minor league left-handed pitcher Michael Plassmeyer from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for outfielder Mallex Smith and minor league outfielder Jake Fraley.

Zunino (zoo-NEE-no), 27, hit .201/.259/.410 (75-for-373) with 20 home runs and 44 RBI in 113 games (102 starts) last season with the Mariners, his second consecutive season with at least 20 homers and third overall. He missed time due to a pair of stints on the disabled list, missing the first 17 games of the season with a strained left oblique and from July 5-21 with a left ankle bone bruise. Over the last two seasons, his 45 home runs rank fourth among major league catchers behind Salvador Pérez (54), Gary Sánchez (51) and Yasmani Grandal (46). According to FanGraphs, since the start of the 2017 season he ranks sixth among major league catchers with 5.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Over parts of six seasons in the majors, he has hit .207/.276/.406 (391-for-1,885) with 95 home runs and 241 RBI.

Last night, Zunino was named the 2018 Wilson Defensive Player of the Year at catcher. The Wilson Defensive Player of the Year, which honors the top defensive player at each position across the majors, is determined by a combination of traditional defensive stats and advanced metrics. With Zunino and Kevin Kiermaier, who won the award for center field, the Rays are now the only team in baseball with two 2018 Wilson Defensive Players of the Year. According to FanGraphs, last season Zunino tied for first among American League catchers and tied for second among major league catchers with 12 Defensive Runs Saved. Among qualifying catchers, he ranked fifth in the majors and third in the AL with a .998 fielding pct. He threw out 29.2 pct. of potential base stealers, third in the AL among players to appear in at least 100 games at catcher.

Zunino was born in Cape Coral Fla., where he graduated from Mariner High School in 2009. He was selected by the Mariners in the first round (third overall) of the 2012 June Draft out of the University of Florida, and remains the highest-drafted player in school history. He led the Gators to the College World Series each of his three seasons there, was named 2011 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and in 2012 earned the Golden Spikes Award, Dick Howser Trophy and Johnny Bench Award.

Heredia (her-ED-ee-uh), 27, hit .236/.318/.342 (69-for-292) with five home runs and 19 RBI in 125 games (88 starts) last season with the Mariners. He was with the major league club for three stints: Opening Day-April 21, May 1-August 18 and August 27 through the end of the season. He was one of five qualifying outfielders in the majors to record a 1.000 fielding pct., and joined Franklin Gutierrez in 2010 as the only Mariners outfielders to ever do that. He was named the Mariners recipient of the 2018 Heart and Hustle Award by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA). The Heart and Hustle Award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody its values, spirit and traditions. Over parts of three seasons in the majors, he has hit .244/.321/.336 (188-for-770). He played six seasons in Cuba before signing with the Mariners in March 2016.

Plassmeyer, 22, went 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA (24-IP, 6-ER) in 13 appearances (12 starts) last season with Short-A Everett, his first professional season. He recorded 44 strikeouts, good for a 16.50 strikeouts per nine innings ratio, and was named to the Northwest League midseason All-Star Team. He was selected by the Mariners in the fourth round of the 2018 June Draft out of the University of Missouri. In his final season at Missouri, he went 5-4 with a 3.05 ERA (91.1-IP, 31-ER) and 103 strikeouts in 14 starts.

Smith, 25, hit .296/.367/.406 (142-for-480) with 27 doubles, 10 triples, two home runs, 40 RBI and 40 stolen bases in 141 games (127 starts) for the Rays last year, his second season in the organization. He won the club's Paul C. Smith Champion Award, given to the player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field, and was selected as the Rays nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award. He ranked third in the majors in stolen bases, and it was the most by a Ray since Carl Crawford (47) and Melvin Upton Jr. (42) in 2010. His 10 triples tied for the AL lead and his .296 avg. ranked 11th in the league. Over parts of three seasons in the majors, he has hit .277/.346/.384 (256-for-925) with 72 stolen bases. He was originally acquired by the Rays from the Mariners in a four-player trade involving Drew Smyly in January 2017.

Fraley, 23, hit .347/.415/.547 (78-for-225) with four home runs and 41 RBI in 66 games for Class-A Charlotte last season. He missed two months of the season with a left foot injury. Over parts of three seasons in the minors, he has hit .278/.359/

.435 (150-for-540) with seven home runs and 73 RBI. Following the 2017 season, he was ranked by Baseball America as the Best Defensive Outfielder in the organization. He was selected by the Rays in the Competitive Balance Round B of the 2016 June Draft out of Louisiana State University.

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays sign Sandy Gastón to Minor League contract

The Tampa Bay Rays have signed international free agent right-handed pitcher Sandy Gastón to a minor league contract. The Matanzas, Cuba, native is 6'3", 200 pounds and will turn 17 on Dec. 16.

Gastón was scouted and signed by Rays Director of International Scouting Carlos Rodriguez and Dominican Republic Scouting Supervisor Danny Santana. Among international prospects eligible to sign this year, Baseball America rated him the No. 24 prospect overall, No. 6 pitching prospect, No. 4 prospect out of Cuba and the top-rated prospect who had remained unsigned. 

The Tampa Bay Rays have signed international free agent right-handed pitcher Sandy Gastón to a minor league contract. The Matanzas, Cuba, native is 6'3", 200 pounds and will turn 17 on Dec. 16.

Gastón was scouted and signed by Rays Director of International Scouting Carlos Rodriguez and Dominican Republic Scouting Supervisor Danny Santana. Among international prospects eligible to sign this year, Baseball America rated him the No. 24 prospect overall, No. 6 pitching prospect, No. 4 prospect out of Cuba and the top-rated prospect who had remained unsigned. 

"We believe Sandy is a high-caliber pitching prospect with potential elite major league fastball, quality secondary components and possesses the physical and mental characteristics to develop into an impactful major league pitcher," said Rodriguez. "His size, arm talent and age make him a very unique pitcher. We are thrilled to add him to our signing class and into the Rays organization."

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays claim Oliver Drake off waivers from Minnesota

The Tampa Bay Rays have claimed right-handed pitcher Oliver Drake off waivers from the Minnesota Twins. In addition, catchers Adam Moore and Jesús Sucre have been outrighted from the 40-man roster.
 
Drake, 31, has spent parts of four seasons in the majors, going 5-6 with a 4.59 ERA (137.1-IP, 70-ER) in 135 appearances, all in relief. Last season, he pitched in the majors for the Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels, Toronto Blue Jays and the Twins, becoming the first player in major league history to pitch for five different teams in one season. Over a combined 44 apps in the majors last season, he went 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA (47.2-IP, 28-ER). According to FanGraphs, batters swung and missed at 13.2 pct. of his pitches-2.5 pct. higher than the major league average.
 
Drake was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 43rd round of the 2008 June Draft. He transitioned to the bullpen in 2013 and was named by Baseball America as the Best Reliever in the Eastern League in 2014. He made four stints in the majors with the Orioles in 2015, including his major league debut on May 23 at the Miami Marlins.
 
Moore, 34, appeared in eight games and made five starts at catcher over two stints with the Rays last season. He hit .222/.263/.444 in 18 at-bats, and his homer on September 28 was his first in the majors in 2,196 days.
 
Sucre, 30, was on the active roster for the entire season and hit .209/.247/.253 (38-for-182) in 73 games (52 starts). Over two seasons with the Rays, he hit .232/.268/.330 (83-for-358) with eight home runs and 46 RBI.

The Tampa Bay Rays have claimed right-handed pitcher Oliver Drake off waivers from the Minnesota Twins. In addition, catchers Adam Moore and Jesús Sucre have been outrighted from the 40-man roster.
 
Drake, 31, has spent parts of four seasons in the majors, going 5-6 with a 4.59 ERA (137.1-IP, 70-ER) in 135 appearances, all in relief. Last season, he pitched in the majors for the Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels, Toronto Blue Jays and the Twins, becoming the first player in major league history to pitch for five different teams in one season. Over a combined 44 apps in the majors last season, he went 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA (47.2-IP, 28-ER). According to FanGraphs, batters swung and missed at 13.2 pct. of his pitches-2.5 pct. higher than the major league average.
 
Drake was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 43rd round of the 2008 June Draft. He transitioned to the bullpen in 2013 and was named by Baseball America as the Best Reliever in the Eastern League in 2014. He made four stints in the majors with the Orioles in 2015, including his major league debut on May 23 at the Miami Marlins.
 
Moore, 34, appeared in eight games and made five starts at catcher over two stints with the Rays last season. He hit .222/.263/.444 in 18 at-bats, and his homer on September 28 was his first in the majors in 2,196 days.
 
Sucre, 30, was on the active roster for the entire season and hit .209/.247/.253 (38-for-182) in 73 games (52 starts). Over two seasons with the Rays, he hit .232/.268/.330 (83-for-358) with eight home runs and 46 RBI.

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays promote Matt Quatraro to bench coach

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-The Tampa Bay Rays have promoted Matt Quatraro from third base coach to bench coach on Manager Kevin Cash's major league coaching staff.

Quatraro (kwuh-TRAH-roe), who turns 45 on November 14, becomes the 10th bench coach in club history, following Frank Howard (1998-99), Bill Russell (2000), Hal McRae (2001), Billy Hatcher (2001-02), John McLaren (2003-05), Bill Evers (2006-07), Dave Martinez (2008-14), Tom Foley (2015-17) and Charlie Montoyo (2018). Montoyo was recently named manager for the Toronto Blue Jays.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-The Tampa Bay Rays have promoted Matt Quatraro from third base coach to bench coach on Manager Kevin Cash's major league coaching staff.

Quatraro (kwuh-TRAH-roe), who turns 45 on November 14, becomes the 10th bench coach in club history, following Frank Howard (1998-99), Bill Russell (2000), Hal McRae (2001), Billy Hatcher (2001-02), John McLaren (2003-05), Bill Evers (2006-07), Dave Martinez (2008-14), Tom Foley (2015-17) and Charlie Montoyo (2018). Montoyo was recently named manager for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Next season will be Quatraro's 24th in professional baseball and 16th in a coaching capacity. Last season, Quatraro returned to the Rays organization after spending the previous four seasons (2014-17) with the Cleveland Indians as major league assistant hitting coach. Prior to joining the Indians, Quatraro was the Rays minor league hitting coordinator from 2010-13. He also spent four seasons as a minor league manager in the Rays organization, going 196-228 (.462) with Class-A Bowling Green (2009), Class-A Columbus (2008) and Short-A Hudson Valley (2006-07). His coaching career began midway through the 2004 season, as a catching instructor and coach with Hudson Valley.

An eighth-round selection by the Rays in the 1996 June Draft, Quatraro played seven seasons in the Rays system as a catcher, first baseman and outfielder, reaching Triple-A Durham in 2002. He became the first player in organization history to hit for the cycle on July 6, 1997 against Class-A Hickory. Over 415 career minor league games, he hit .286/.343/.416 (415-for-1,451) with 23 home runs and 202 RBI.

Quatraro graduated from Old Dominion University with a history degree and was named the 1996 ODU Male Athlete of the Year and Male Scholar Athlete of the Year. He and his wife, Chris, live in Albany, N.Y., with their sons, George and Leo.

Tampa Bay Rays

Statement from Rays manager Kevin Cash

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Rays Manager Kevin Cash has released the following statement in regard to the Minnesota Twins hiring of Rocco Baldelli and the Toronto Blue Jays hiring of Charlie Montoyo.

"Charlie and Rocco are two quality individuals who have served the Rays organization for a long time. They build solid relationships with players, understand how to earn their trust and have impacted many players' careers for the better. In the four years we spent together, they were both instrumental in helping me on a daily basis. Each one is very deserving of this opportunity, and I wish them well."

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Rays Manager Kevin Cash has released the following statement in regard to the Minnesota Twins hiring of Rocco Baldelli and the Toronto Blue Jays hiring of Charlie Montoyo.

"Charlie and Rocco are two quality individuals who have served the Rays organization for a long time. They build solid relationships with players, understand how to earn their trust and have impacted many players' careers for the better. In the four years we spent together, they were both instrumental in helping me on a daily basis. Each one is very deserving of this opportunity, and I wish them well."

Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rowdies sale to Rays now completed

With the 2018 United Soccer League season in the books, a new chapter begins for the Tampa Bay Rowdies, as the sale to the Tampa Bay Rays has been completed.

"Today marks a new era in Tampa Bay Rowdies history," said Vice-Chairman Matt Silverman. "We are excited to embark on this journey with Rowdies fans from across Tampa Bay, and we look forward to building enduring relationships with Season Ticket Holders, Corporate Partners, and all supporters of Rowdies soccer."

With the 2018 United Soccer League season in the books, a new chapter begins for the Tampa Bay Rowdies, as the sale to the Tampa Bay Rays has been completed.

"Today marks a new era in Tampa Bay Rowdies history," said Vice-Chairman Matt Silverman. "We are excited to embark on this journey with Rowdies fans from across Tampa Bay, and we look forward to building enduring relationships with Season Ticket Holders, Corporate Partners, and all supporters of Rowdies soccer."

As the transition begins in earnest, exciting changes are planned for the Rowdies roster, front office and fan experience. Beginning on November 3, and continuing during the first Saturday Morning Market of each month, the Rowdies will open Al Lang Stadium to the public for family-friendly activities and live soccer games streamed from around the world on the video board and concourse televisions. More information regarding specific programming will be made available as the date nears. 

"The expansion of the Saturday Morning Market into Al Lang will be an added benefit to an already energized downtown St. Petersburg," said Vice-Chairman Brian Auld. "It allows fans and citizens access to family-friendly activities during the most beautiful time of the year." 

Roster announcements will be made in the coming weeks, and ticket sales representatives are diligently working to contact Season Ticket Holders to discuss early renewal benefits for the 2019 Rowdies season. For a limited time, fans who place a $100 deposit towards a 2019 season ticket will receive $25 in Rowdies Dollars to be used in the Rowdies Team Store at Sundial St. Pete during the month of December. Fans can call 727-222-2000 for information on ticket offerings.

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays, Cash agree to multi-year contract extension

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Tampa Bay Rays have extended the contract of Manager Kevin Cash through the 2024 season, with a club option for 2025.

 

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Tampa Bay Rays have extended the contract of Manager Kevin Cash through the 2024 season, with a club option for 2025.

 

"We couldn't be happier with the impact that Kevin has made on our organization, an impact that extends well beyond our major league club," said Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations/General Manager Erik Neander. "We're thankful for this stability and the many advantages that it provides, especially the opportunity to continue learning and improving together."

 

"Kevin's abilities, leadership and character have exceeded our lofty expectations," said Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg. "I look forward to having him and his family a part of our organization for the years ahead."

 

Named the fifth manager in Rays history on Dec. 5, 2014, Cash is already the second-longest tenured. Only five current major league managers have been managing their clubs longer than Cash, who enters his fifth season: San Francisco's Bruce Bochy (entering 13th season), Kansas City's Ned Yost (10th season, ninth full), Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle (ninth), Oakland's Bob Melvin (ninth season, eighth full) and Cleveland's Terry Francona (seventh). Like Cash, Houston's A.J. Hinch and Chicago's Joe Maddon were both hired following the 2014 season. Including vacancies, 13 of the 30 major league clubs have changed

managers in the past calendar year.

 

Under Cash's direction, the 2018 Rays went 90-72-the most wins in baseball by any team missing the postseason, and their best record since 2013. It was the second consecutive season they made double-digit improvement in wins. The club went 41-25 after the All-Star break, third-best mark in the American League, and 19-9 in September, second in the AL. They went 30-28 against the five AL postseason clubs, including 21-11 from June 22 through season's end.

 

They achieved all this despite a wide range of challenges. The Rays set single-season club records by using 54 players, 31 pitchers, 17 starting pitchers (most in baseball) and 23 rookies. According to Stats LLC, the 2018 Rays were the first team in major league history to use at least 23 rookies and finish at least 18 games over .500. The Rays began the season with a three-man starting rotation, employing frequent bullpen days, and on May 19 introduced "the opener" concept. From that point forward, the pitching staff ranked third in the majors with a 3.50 ERA. The Rays bullpen shattered the major league record by throwing 824.1 innings. Only three players remained on the active roster for the full duration of the season: first baseman C.J. Cron, right-handed pitcher Sergio Romo and catcher Jesús Sucre.

 

Cash has been selected to the American League coaching staff for each of the past two All-Star Games, by Hinch in 2018 and Francona in 2017.

 

A former catcher who played parts of eight seasons in the majors, including 2005 with the Rays, Cash is one of four current managers who played for Tampa Bay along with Nationals manager Dave Martinez (1998-2000), Mets skipper Mickey Callaway (1999, 2001) and Phillies manager Gabe Kapler (2009-10).

Cash, who turns 41 on Dec. 6, remains the youngest active manager in the majors. He is the sixth Tampa-born manager in major league history, and second to manage the Rays. That list includes Hall of Famers Al Lopez and Tony La Russa, Lou Piniella (for whom Cash played in 2005), Dave Miley and John Hart. He and his wife, Emily, have three children.

Tampa Bay Rays