What can we learn from Kevin Cash and the Rays? A GM weighs in.


How many times have we been reminded that professional sports is filled with examples of copy-cats? If you win, others want to know how you did it and then try to replicate the approach.

It’s a big part of why Chaim Bloom was identified by the Red Sox’ ownership group as the right guy at the right time to lead its baseball operations. In the past 10 seasons, the Rays have actually had more regular season wins than big-market Boston and Bloom was a big part of that process.

So now with the Rays doing what they are doing in this postseason — owning a 3-1 advantage over the Astros in the teams’ American League Championship Seres — the questions are being asked again: How does Tampa Bay do it?

When the issue was posed to Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore — an executive who guided his organization to a World Series title in 2015 — the answer as to the point.

"They believe in themselves. They have a terrific manager in Kevin Cash. They have a great culture,” Moore said on the Bradfo Sho podcast. “(Rays GM) Erik (Neander) sets the right tone. He’s a humble guy. They understand all of their success is tied together. They don’t have a lot of stars, if you will, but they have a team. John Wooden said it best I think. He said, ‘I would rather have a player who makes a team great than a great player.’ And they have a lot of guys like that. It’s obviously very refreshing and it’s great to see. But I think Kevin Cash — I was talking to John Sherman our new owner today and we were talking about the Rays — I think Kevin Cash has done an unbelievable job of being that steady presence, that energy giver. He works extremely hard. When you watch him in pregame, I mean he’s the hardest working coach on the field and he’s the manager of the team. That’s huge and it means a lot to the culture.

“I think they’ve done a lot of things well. They’re not afraid to make transactions. They obviously have invested heavily on evaluations and developed pitching. Look, if you ever want to tilt the field in your favor you have to do it in the middle of the diamond. It’s got to be done on that bump, especially if you’re a small market. They are proving the importance of strong pitching and that’s how you tilt the field in your favor.”

On the podcast, Moore also offered his take on Bloom.

“It begins and ends with that he’s a good person,” he said. “My first interaction with him is that he has an inviting personality. He’s a straight shooter. He cares about people. That was my first interaction with him. To me that’s a very important part of leadership. When you have those type of characteristics people tend to trust you and give you more grace along this line where you’re making a lot of decisions and sometimes decisions don’t work out. But if they trust you and believe in you and think highly of you they’re willing to be more accepting of your mistakes. I think he has a lot of that. He has an understanding of building your organization from the ground up, strong scouting, strong player development, your farm system is crucial. Raising and developing your own talent that understand your own fan base and the history of your organization. He has a feel for all of that. He has a deep respect for the game. That’s what I think is really, really important to understand about Chaim and his leadership style. From a distance, I’ve always been impressed with how he has handled himself and managed people.”