The Tampa Bay Rays have responded to the loss of long-time skipper Joe Maddon by hiring the youngest manager in professional sports.
Kevin Cash, who turns 37 years old on Saturday, has been named the fifth manager in Rays history.
Tampa Bay was said to be deciding between Cash and Don Wakamatsu for the vacant position after Raul Ibanez reportedly withdrew himself from consideration Thursday. Rays owner Stuart Sternberg released a statement shortly after news broke of the reported hiring.
"We are fortunate to have such a talented individual," Sternberg said. His energy and dynamic personality will fit seamlessly with our clubhouse."
Cash's only dugout experience comes from the last two seasons as the Cleveland Indians' bullpen coach. He also interviewed for the Texas Rangers manager job and was said to be highly coveted within the Indians organization.
Cash spent parts of eight seasons as a player before retiring and serving as an advanced scout with the Toronto Blue Jays during the 2012 season.
The former big league catcher figures to be an ideal fit for the Rays' young pitching staff. Cash, who is regarded as well-prepared and having a high-baseball IQ, beat out a field of 10 candidates to replace Maddon.
Friday's news marks the end of a turbulent offseason of front-office reshuffling in the Rays organization. It started with general manager Andrew Friedman leaving for the Los Angeles Dodgers and worsened a week later when an opt-out clause in Maddon's contract allowed him to bolt for the Chicago Cubs.
Former Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, who was among the original group of candidates for the manager position, will reportedly join Maddon in Chicago.
Cash will be tasked with returning the Rays to postseason contention in a reloaded AL East division. The Rays finished fourth last year with a 77-85 record, marking the second time in three seasons the club missed out on the playoffs.