The offseason accolades for the Tampa Bay Rays began to roll in this week. Outfielder Randy Arozarena and Rays skipper Kevin Cash walked away with the 2021 American League Rookie of the Year, and the 2021 AL Manager of the Year, respectively.
Arozarena — who is the fourth player in Tampa Bay history to be named Rookie of the Year — slashed .274 BA/.356 OBP/.459 SLG/.815 OPS with 32 doubles, 69 RBI, and 94 runs scored in 141 games this season. He also put up a 20-20 season, becoming just the third Ray in franchise history to do so. Wil Myers (2013), Jeremy Hellickson (2011), and Evan Longoria (2008) were the other three Tampa Bay players to win Rookie of the Year, while Tommy Pham and BJ Upton were the other two Rays to reach the 20-20 mark.
I think I was the one that screamed the loudest. I’m very happy and honored to have gotten the Rookie of the Year and very happy to have the support of my family next to me. …I know the hard work that I’ve put in for these achievements that I’ve had this year. And I’m going to continue to work hard and continue to push that for the future.— Randy Arozarena through translator Manny Navarro.
Tampa Bay had three players in the running for the award: Arozarena, who received 22 of 30 first-place votes (124 total points), Wander Franco who earned two first-place votes (30 total points) and came in third, and Shane McClanahan who received a second-place vote which put him seventh of the eight players in the voting.
Arozarena is the sixth Cuban-born player to win the award in either league, joining Yordan Alvarez (2019), Jose Abreu (2014), José Fernández (2013), Jose Canseco (1986), and Tony Oliva (1964).
Rays manager Kevin Cash joined exclusive, Hall of Fame company by winning his second consecutive Manager of the Year Award.
Cash is the first AL manager to win the award twice in a row. He and Bobby Cox (2004 and ’05) are the only managers to be named Manager of the Year in back-to-back years.
I shouldn’t be in the same sentence, shouldn’t be in the same conversation, none of it. Very humbling. When you think of Major League managers, or really the greats in this game, Bobby Cox is going to find himself at the top of many lists.— Kevin Cash
Cash joins Joe Maddon (2008 and ’11) as Rays managers to win the award multiple times. Cash led Tampa Bay to a franchise-record 100 wins in 2021, in spite of having to use a record 61 players, including 38 pitchers, as 33 players were placed on the Injured List over 43 total stints (excluding the COVID-19 related IL). In August, the Rays had a club-record 17 players on the IL three times. Even so, Cash led the Rays to 100 wins in a season where four of five AL East teams had at least 90.
Cash, who also led the Rays to back-to-back AL East titles and three straight postseason berths, received 109 points in the voting while appearing on 27 of 30 ballots. He received 19 first-place votes. The Mariners’ Scott Servais came in second with 71 points, while Dusty Baker was third with 33 points.