Manny Ramirez To Become Triple-A Iowa Cubs’ Player Coach.. Such An Interesting Move, Epstein
ESPN- Manny Ramirez is coming back to baseball — as a player-coach for the Chicago Cubs’ Triple-A team.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein announced in a statement Sunday that Ramirez “is not and will not” be on the Cubs’ major-league roster, stating that the once-feared slugger will serve as a mentor to Chicago’s minor-league hitters in Des Moines, Iowa.
“While Manny is not and will not be a fit on the Cubs’ major league roster, we do think at this stage of his life he’s a nice fit as a mentor for some of the young talented hitters we have in the organization,” Epstein said. “Manny will coach full-time and play part-time in a limited role that does not take at-bats away from our prospects.
“If he shows there is still some magic in his bat, perhaps he will find his way to the major leagues and help another team, but that is not why he is here. We are thrilled that he wants to work with our young hitters and make a difference.”
The 41-year-old Ramirez will take at-bats in extended spring training games at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa, Arizona before joining the Triple-A Iowa Cubs.
“I’m at the stage of my life and career where I really want to give something back to the game that I love — the game that has meant so much to me and done so much for me and my family,” Ramirez said in the release. “I know I am nearing the end of my playing days, but I have a lot of knowledge to pass on to the next generation — both what to do and what not to do.”
Ramirez has not played in the majors since a five-game stint with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011. The 12-time All-Star was suspended twice late in his career for testing positive for performance-enhancing substances, but Epstein thinks Ramirez will be a positive influence on the Cubs’ prospects.
“Manny is not only one of the best hitters of all time, he is also a dedicated student of hitting and has proven to be a gifted teacher with younger teammates who have worked with him in the batting cage,” Epstein said. “Behind the scenes he has always been a tireless worker who is very serious about the craft of hitting.
“Manny has made real mistakes in the past but he has owned up to them and moved his life in a positive direction the last couple of years. He is in a really great place right now and wants to share the lessons he’s learned along the way. We think he deserves another chance and that our young hitters will benefit from it.”
Ramirez was a .312 hitter with 555 home runs, the 14th-highest total in baseball history, in 2,302 games covering 19 major league seasons.
Seven of those seasons were in Boston, where Epstein was the general manager of two Red Sox clubs that won World Series titles with Ramirez.
With the Cubs, Ramirez will be tasked with coaching some of the top offensive prospects in baseball, including infielder Javier Baez, who is batting just .203 with Iowa. The Cubs also have top outfield prospects Kris Bryant and Albert Almora in their minor-league system.
“The Cubs have some very talented young hitters, and I would love nothing more than to make a positive impact on their careers,” Ramirez said. “I am passionate about baseball and about hitting, and I have a lot to offer. While I would love to return to the major leagues, I leave that in God’s hands. My focus will be on working with the young hitters, making sure they don’t make the same mistakes I made, and helping the team any way I can.”
Interesting move Epstein..
Anybody that thinks Manny isn’t going to be a spanish Kenny Powers is just naive, plain and simple. Before you know it, they’re going to have “Manny being Manny” on their hands.. Exactly what the Sox went through. You’re going to have this fat Dominican guy on the bench eating more empanadas than Miggy in his prime.. and throwing gun fingers around. Guy’s gonna put himself batting 4th in the line-up everyday.. Watch.
But in a serious note.. This could work.. It’s like having a Latino Babe Ruth teach your young guys how to beat the fuck out of a fastball. Not to mention bat-flip city if you have Manny teaching these kids how to hit absolute dingers.. We’ll see what happens.
Double PS- I miss Kenny Powers