Cubs Hire Manny Ramirez as a Player-Coach for Triple-A Iowa

The Cubs announced Sunday morning that the team has hired Manny Ramirez to be a player-coach for Triple-A Iowa. Ramirez inked a minor league contract with the Cubs and Theo Epstein made the announcement.

Theo Epstein made a point to say, “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 hitter we have in the organization. Manny will coach-full time and play part-time in a limited role that does not take at-bats away from our prospects.”

Manny Ramirez will report to the Cubs facility in Mesa and participate in extended Spring Training before joining Iowa’s staff.

From the Release:

Theo Epstein

“We are excited to welcome Manny to the Cubs organization and look forward to him working with our young hitters. 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. 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.”

“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. 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.”

 Manny Ramirez

“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. 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. The Cubs have some very talented young hitters, and I would love nothing more than to make a positive impact on their careers. 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.”

Full Release from the Cubs

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  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Reading the comments it makes a lot of sense. I’m excited about the young guys learning hitting tips from one of the all-time greats. He’s made mistakes but seems to have matured past them and this could be really positive. Theo knows him and obviously respects what he can do to help young hitters.

    • Swish23

      it makes zero sense. stop agreeing with everything this horrid FO spits out. why in the world do we want a selfish-arrogrant-cheater-Boston player doing anything with the cubs? this is not beantown. last time i checked manny was all roided up on women’s estrogren hitting liners all over wrigley in 2008 helping cheat his way over the cubs in the playfofs. now we want this guy as a mentor? yet the cubs cannot lower themselves to bring sammy sosa back just for a guest appearance? seriously? at least sammy put the cubs in the playoffs and sold a helluva lot of seats. i don’t want sammy as a mentor either, but this serves no purpose. and them to let him play too? any at-bat could be taking away at-bats from a prospect; he’s taking up a roster spot; its not like coaches cat just grab a bat and pinch-hit.
      just when you think the FO and owner have done everyhing in their power to make the cubs look more humiliated; now we get these shenigans.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Please do not tell someone how to think. You are welcome to your opinion and free to post it.

        Please read the site’s commenting policy.

        Thank you.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        Hiring Manny to be the attitude coach would be like hiring a prisoner to teach a course on integrity. But hiring him to teach hitting is like hiring one of the all time great hitters to teach hitting.

        I’ll admit my first response was surprise and puzzlement but the more I see it the more it intrigues me. Manny seems to acknowledge the error in some of his ways so who’s to say he can’t teach from his own mistakes? The guy was one of the all time great hitters and in clutch situations. Sammy Sosa? He wasn’t half the hitter Manny was? HR, yes. But Manny could flat out swing the bat. He batted over .340 some years. Sammy was a sub .300 hitter.

        I think that a more mature Manny could be good. Maybe not, I”m by no means convinced it will be a great hire. But I don’t think it will harm anything. He can help with approach and preparation to at-bats. Help young players realize how pitchers are trying to approach them and to make adjustments. Something Manny was very good at. I imagine coaches will be told to keep a close eye on things and if there is any negativity coming from him he will be out of job quickly. But as long as he coaches hitting and is a positive influence he’ll stick around and probably help. I think my own knee jerk reaction of puzzlement is understandable but when looking at the situation from the 35,000 foot view it makes some sense.

        Lots of guys were busted for various forms of cheating during the steroid era. Many of them are now coaches in one way or another including Big Mac in St. Louis. Personally I’d rather have Manny teaching hitting than Big Mac from a straight results standpoint. Manny was a much better hitter than Big Mac. Also, he is latin and can speak and relate to some of these young latin players. I’d imagine Manny would be the first to tell young players that if they want to play with PED’s they will be taking a huge risk. I can’t imagine in a million years he’ll be in the dugout or hotel advocating to young players to take PED’s.

        Also, I trust Theo. I like many of his moves and the one’s I don’t like I can still understand. Therefore if Theo thinks Manny can help young hitters I’m inclined to trust his judgement. The guy has 2 rings and put together a team that won a 3rd. Obviously he knows what he’s doing and has proven results to back it up. He came in and had a plan and told us all it was going to be a rough few years while he put it in place. That has been the case but right now the future looks very bright. So if Theo says Manny will be able to help young hitters, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  • Tom U

    I’m not sure at this point whether it is wise for Javier Baez to be a Manny Ramirez disciple

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      You’ll find this interesting, Randy Wehofer just said on the broadcast the Manny was Baez’s favorite player.

      • GaryLeeT

        So they went out, and bought Javier his own pet Manny? Nice.

      • GaryLeeT

        So they went out, and bought Javier his own pet Manny? Nice.

    • John_CC

      What specifically do mean Tom?

      • Tom U

        That I can see both sides of this. Manny was a larger than life prospect who has had similar experiences. He can become an example of how not to handle things. Let’s hope he is not an inspiration to Baez to follow in Manny’s footsteps in every way.

        • Tony_H

          Do you really think that Theo, who has known him a long time, would do this move if he thought that Manny would be a bad influence on Baez and others?

          • Tom U

            In my line of work, I’ve seen people do all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons. You just never can tell.

          • Tony_H

            I can’t even think of the right words to say in response, except for WOW!

          • Roll

            You are so right Tom some of the smartest or successful people make some horrible decisions at times. Anyone notice that Cubs announced the signing in the middle of a long holiday weekend, typical political move on controversial news.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            So do you really think Theo could hire a coach and it might not work out like he thought? Sveum ring any bells?

          • Tony_H

            Doesn’t that apply to every team?

            That also isn’t what I said.

        • cubtex

          Exactly!

    • Tony_H

      I actually think it is a good fit as Manny had a similar aggressivness that he learned how to having a good approach.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Tom,
      Thanks for the sane post.

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  • Rational Logic

    What. Is. Happening.

    Was Jose Canseco not available?

  • BosephHeyden

    I’m just curious as to why Manny is not considered a “fit”. Obviously, he has no business starting games. But if, in his limited playing time, he looks like he can hit consistently on a part-time basis, he’d likely be an upgrade over whoever our current 4th or 5th outfielder would be at the time. Besides, player coaches seem like something that only works in 80’s sports movies. Chances are decent that he loses interest in the coaching portion of the “player-coach” title if he either does really well or really poorly at the player portion.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      This is a minor league deal only. Epstein pointed out he is not and will not be a fit with the Cubs big league team. He was hired to help the minor league hitters. Mike Olt had a good experience with Manny last year when Olt was still in the Rangers’ system. Manny found issues in Olt’s swing and helped him correct it.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Patrick Mooney just tweeted this about Mike Olt and Manny

      Mike Olt played with Manny Ramirez last year at Texas AAA affiliate: “It was really an awesome experience and I learned a lot from him.”

  • Tony_H

    Mark McGwire was a controversial hitting coach hire for the Cardinals and now the Dodgers. But guys like Manny and McGwire know a thing or two about hitting. I like that they are making him work in the minors and why not let him get some AB’s along the way.

    • TheWrongGuy

      I agree, Tony.
      I can also see where many are not agreeing with the choices of this FO. But as has been pointed out before. The likeness of what this FO is doing in comparison to the Washington Nationals is pretty amazing. I think this is their cheap Jayson Werth signing. To allow Manny to work with K. Bryant, J. Baez, A. Alcantara, BJAX, J. Vitters ect… I think gives big plus to our “suspects”/prospects in the system prior to MLB call-ups in September.

  • triple

    Manny sure did a lot of things wrong in the game. But he also did a lot of things right when he was swinging the bat. I’m sure players can learn alot from him both at the plate, and also from the mistakes he’s made.

  • John_CC

    If indeed Manny has the teaching skills to be a coach then I love this. Up until his last years with LA I really liked Manny, though he was always a bit odd. All that aside, he was an incredible hitter, one of the best of his generation.

    So enough a couple of the usual suspects will chime in with smart remarks about his steroid use and while I will condone it with anyone, I do believe if someone admits what they did, apologizes and then moves on that they deserve a second chance.

    I once read an article about Manny and one anecdote has stuck with me. When he was with the Indians once or twice after drawing a ball four he stayed in box unaware he had walked. People says he’s a space case, but he said he didnt give thought to the balls in the count when he was up because he was simply focused on waiting for his pitch and hitting strikes.

    Again if he is a good teacher and can communicate with young players, who better to teach the importance of a focused approach. He did swing at garbage but drove pitches he could hit.

  • SuzyS

    “It was the best of times, It was the worst of times”…..I’m not a real fan of Manny Ramirez as a person…but the guy could hit….If he’s turned any corners and reformed himself as stated…then it might be a good move. While this hiring raises an eyebrow and comes complete with inherent risk of failure…I like the fact that Theo can look past the obvious and give a guy a second chance.
    For the record, The Cubs are my first love, being born in Boston with many family connections there make the Red Sox a close second. I believe Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame because he did the deed….and he should also be in the hall of shame for breaking the cardinal rules of the game….Same goes for Shoeless Joe…if that gives you any insight on my perspective re Manny.

  • The Dude Abides

    Big BoSox fan, the ManRam could hit as good as anyone. Everything else about the guy is questionable. Hustle, PED’s, leadership,
    moody the list goes on. Who knows maybe this will make more sense in the coming weeks. Definitely not something I expected to see this Memorial Day weekend.

  • cubtex

    Manny from the BoSox who was caught twice for cheating and was known as a clown in the clubhouse welcome with open arms….but our own Sammy Sosa(one of Cubs best players in history) not invited to 100 year anniversary or welcome back?

    • Sonate

      I must agree. We know what we THINK Sammy did, but i don’t believe that he ever failed a drug test. So does Sammy’s final “tantrum” disqualify him as an admirable Cub? Maybe it’s a bit of apples-oranges comparison because Manny has been praised as a teacher. Sammy…..not so much. But I still agree with the sentiment. Sammy should have been invited. (A bit of unrelated irony. Sammy hit 60+ HR 3 times and won the HR crown twice. But he won the HR crown in NONE of the 3 seasons that he hit 60+!!)

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  • Jeffrey Rogers

    If the cubs won the World Series in 5 games a lot of you would whine it was not a sweep.

    • cubtex

      And many will say what a great job the FO did IF the team finally makes the playoffs in 2017 after tanking and putting together horrendous teams for the previous seasons.

      • Jeffrey Rogers

        2nd place is first loser. – Ricky Bobby.

    • Eugene Debs

      Comparing the signing a serial cheater and winning the World Series is like comparing a bowling ball with a spaceship.

      • Jeffrey Rogers

        Your right. Baez is probably shooting some juice right now. I didn’t see the Cards or the Dodgers whining like little girls about Mark McGuire being on the MLB coaching staff. Face it, you guys are never happy unless your whining.

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  • Eugene Debs

    Keep Sammy away because he was a bad teammate and a cheater. Bring in Manny.

    Makes sense.

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