Bond Between Cash, Montoyo exposed as Rays skip wins Manager of the year title


TORONTO – Moments after Kevin Cash was named American League Manager of the Year on Tuesday by mentor Terry Francona of Cleveland and shared his initial reaction, MLB Network host Greg Amsinger , let him know that one of his former coaches wanted to intervene.

“Yeah, mate,” said Charlie Montoyo, the Toronto Blue Jays skipper who finished third in Baseball Writers’ Association of America member votes. “Congratulations. Well deserved, man. I didn’t want to leave (the show), I said, “Please, I have to say congratulations to him. You deserve it, mate. Good work. I’m proud of you. ”

Beaming like he’d just won the award himself, Montoyo was genuinely excited for Cash, who he worked with as a 2015-17 third baseman and 2018 bench coach with the Tampa Bay Rays. . This kind of altruism and positivity is a big part of what Montoyo brings to the Blue Jays, an element often lost amid the relentless doubts that every manager faces.

“It meant a lot that Charlie was on the call, it sure meant a lot of things left after,” Cash said on a conference call. “I’ve been in this position (as a finalist) for the past two years and I haven’t stayed after that. And I think that says a lot about Charlie the person. And although I can’t stand competing against him and the No.1 Toronto Blue Jays because he’s one of my closest friends in the game, and Toronto is good and they’re going to continue to be well, there has never been a strain on our relationship.

The lasting bond between them, with Rocco Baldelli, the manager of the Minnesota Twins hired a few days before the Blue Jays chose Montoyo, is a byproduct of the culture created in Tampa. The trio continue to speak regularly via text and phone, a lasting camaraderie that the departed coaches try to emulate with their new clubs.

Baldelli has guided the Twins into the postseason in each of the past two years, while Montoyo has led a club that finished 67-95 in 2019 amid uproar over being sacked from Toronto over border issues. linked to the pandemic and being forced to take refuge in Buffalo.

Adding to the challenge was that he did so with the youngest group of positional players in the majors in 2020 at 25.9, according to Baseball Reference.

While he drew criticism for some unorthodox batting order decisions and the club’s twice-order cap on his starters, Montoyo also received praise for not leaving a difficult situation that could easily have come undone.

He received two of 30 first-place votes and 47 points overall to finish behind Rick Renteria, fired by the Chicago White Sox, who received five first-place votes and 61 points. Both were distant dolphins of Cash, who received 22 first-place votes and 126 points, earning recognition for a manager whose impressive work all season has been overshadowed by his controversial decision to remove Blake Snell from World Game 6. Series.

“I don’t want a decision in Game 6 to take away what our players have accomplished this year,” said Cash, who added that he had received a lot of support from former managers, friends and other people in the game since, and accepts the fallout. of a difficult call.

“I would do it again in the same way. I would argue for a different result, for sure… This decision did not reflect my confidence in Blake. It reflected my confidence in Nick (Anderson) very well. That’s what I was feeling right now. The best chance for us to win the game was to put the ball in Nick’s hands and then line up the pickup box – our box was pretty special. And as I have said many times, no one is sicker than I am about it.

Montoyo will have no similar regrets, even though the Blue Jays reversed the storyline of their playoff series against the Rays by pushing ace Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 2 and accompanying a Matt Shoemaker-Robbie Ray piggyback into the game. opening. They lost both games again.

The Rays regularly use such original thinking and it cannot work without front office and coaching staff getting buy-in from the players. As the Blue Jays evolve to a similar model, Montoyo will count to deliver the same kind of outreach he did with Tampa.

“What Charlie means to the Rays organization, you don’t do it for 20 years and you don’t just have a huge impact. And he got that, ”Cash said. “He had it on the players. He had it on other staff. And he certainly had that about me, being a young manager, to be able to lean on a guy … to know that his experiences, his knowledge and what he went through was going to help us make the best decisions every night, or whatever. throughout the season. ”

While Cash praised Francona, who he worked with in Cleveland, for being one of his main influences, the former wide receiver said the roots of his vision for coaching began with the Blue Jays, who have it. signed as an undrafted free agent in 1999. In the minors he quickly emerged as one of the club’s top prospects, but the formidable defender was eventually defeated by an inconsistent stick, finishing with a .526 OPS in 246 big league games in eight years.

Ernie Whitt, Marty Pevey, Omar Malave, Dennis Holmberg, John Gibbons, Carlos Tasco, Gil Patterson and Jim Hoff were names he rhymed as key contributors to his development during his time with the Blue Jays.

“In order not to be a very good player, I definitely had to be surrounded by special player development coaches,” he said. “They were all really special at different times in all of our careers to come, whether it was in the minor leagues, the major leagues, the major leagues, whatever it was. There are so many people I am very grateful for within the Toronto Blue Jays network who are still here or who have done other things. But Toronto was a very special place. I remember when I signed Toronto was kind of a mecca for player development and what they were doing and how many prospects they had, and just the talent. But it wasn’t just the players. They are talented people who work within the organization. ”

The Rays can certainly claim to be the current mecca for player development, a mantle the Blue Jays are looking to reclaim with one of Tampa’s own.


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