Well, my first choice was former bench coach, Dave Martinez, who is now no longer part of the Rays organization. My second choice was Charlie Montoyo, manager for Rays Triple A ball club, the Durham Bulls (and Montoyo, by the way, is the Durham Bulls’ all-time winningest manager). Rays brass went in a different direction and have narrowed the field to the following three candidates:

Kevin Cash
I love that Cash, former star at Gaither High School, is a Tampa native. There would be no problem for him acclimating to the area. He’s young and relates well to players, currently working as the Indians bullpen coach. The Rays were very impressed with Cash in their phone interview. The real question is could his youth and limited post-career coaching experience hurt his chances of earning the position?

Raul Ibanez
While I have a great respect for Ibanez and his playing career, I scratch my head at him making it to the final round simply because I believe there are dozens of skilled managers in the minor league ranks that would be more ready for this job, beginning with the aforementioned Montoyo. I would be less surprised by this choice if Ibanez was a couple of seasons removed from his playing days and had already earned some time as a bench coach or hitting coach. God bless him and his love for the game because you might expect that at age 42, after having played so many years… you might just want to chill. He must have also made a big impression during his preliminary interview.

Don Wakamatsu
My selection for the Rays new manager for 2015 is Don Wakamatsu! (Cash was a close second.) Don’t look at his win-loss record during his tenure as Manager of the Mariners (127-147 over two seasons). However, he’s just wrapped up a season as bench coach for the American League Champion Kansas City Royals team. That Royals roster had a similar kind of feel to it as the Rays roster during recent seasons where they’ve had success. He’s got the experience, having been bench coach for the Blue Jays, Rangers and A’s and also 4 years of minor league manager experience. Combine that with his recent success with the Royals and you’ve got your top candidate of the remaining three.

Follow Roxanne on Twitter @RoxanneWilder

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