And then there were two: Ibanez out as successor to Joe Maddon

click to enlarge Raul Ibanez. -
Raul Ibanez.

With the announcement today that Raul Ibanez is no longer in the running to replace Joe Maddon as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, that leaves just two candidates for the job, both of whom have been interviewed twice by Rays honchos: Gaither High and FSU grad Kevin Cash, 36, who has MLB experience as a catcher, scout and bullpen coach, and Don Wakamatsu, 51, currently bench coach for the Kansas City Royals.

Ibanez had been seen as a strong contender, if an outside-the-box choice — he's never managed, and he's still an active player, most recently with the Royals and now a free agent.  He reportedly withdrew from consideration because of family concerns. 

So will the Rays go with Cash, the local boy made good who according to would be the youngest manager in the majors since 2009? Or will they go with the veteran, Wakamatsu, who made his own kind of history as the Major Leagues' first Asian-American manager?

The answer is expected tomorrow, when the Rays are reportedly going to announce their decision. Maybe they'll celebrate at Ava.

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