Jim Hickey won't be back as Rays pitching coach, Kyle Snyder to take over
UPDATE, 7:49: Cash and Neander both expressed appreciation and gratitude to all three departing coaches - Foley, Hickey, Nelson.
Cash provided some specifics while praising Foley on makign the move:
"We felt for our current major-league club, I felt a change - with his conversation - was in order and felt Charlie Montoyo as our connection has evolved over the last couple seasons, greatly this year, with his experience as a manager would really be an assest going forward with the in-game decision-making and thoughts that come up. We all know that the game moves quick and you can try to map out decisions as best as all of our capabilites, but things adjust. And I felt that Charlie was really, really good at seeing things before they happen, and providing that heads-up in game will be very beneficial going forward.''
He said Foley will remain "very, very much involved" with big-league team and will mentor Cash, staff and players.
UPDATE, 5:57: The Rays have formally announced the moves.
Here is a statement from manager Kevin Cash in the release:
"I am so grateful to Fo, Hick and Nelly for all of their contributions to our major league club. They are tremendous coaches and even better people, and they've had such positive impact throughout the Rays organization," said Cash. "I'm glad that Fo and Nelly will have new opportunities to help the Rays, and I will always appreciate my time with Hick and wish him the best. At the same time, I'm excited for what Kyle will contribute to our staff, and for the wealth of experience that Charlie will bring to his new role."
The Rays still need to hire a third-base coach and a seventh/major-league coach.
UPDATE, 5;43: Charlie Montoyo will be moved from third-base coach to bench coach, replacing Tom Foley.
UPDATE, 5:37: The Rays will promote Triple-A pitching coach Kyle Snyder to replace Hickey, and will move Charlie Montoyo from third-base coach to bench coach. Other moves will still to come. soon.
DEVELOPING: Pitching coach Jim Hickey won't return to the Rays in 2018.
Hickey had been with the Rays for 11 seasons and was considered to be one of the best in the game.
Though he had a year remaining on his contract, the decision was said to be mutual, and the likely spin will be that both sides felt it was time for a change.
He is the second veteran coach to leave manager Kevin Cash's staff since the end of the season, with bench coach Tom Foley taking a different role in the organization.
Hickey, 56 next week, joined the Rays staff in 2007, in Joe Maddon''s second year, and led the pitching staff that too the Rays to the playoffs four times in six years. He is known for his impressive work in getting young starters acclimated to the majors and in resuscitating the career of veteran relievers.
Rays starter Chris Archer had this to say about Hickey:
"Hickey is one of the most intellectual people I know. He's also one of the best people persons I know. The combination of his ability to analyze and apply information, as well as communicate to his players is what causes him to enhance pitchers careers, young and old.
From him helping me prepare prior to every major-league start I've made to our wide ranging chats after practice, on the plane, over a meal, I'm going to miss many many things about Hickey and his influence on our organization.''
Hickey is likely to be a hot commodity on the free agent market, with several teams already dismissing their pitching coaches.