For those of you who have missed "Manny being Manny", wait no more. ESPN.com is reporting that Manny Ramirez has agreed to join the Chicago Cubs AAA affiliate, the Iowa Cubs, as a player-coach. The hope is that Ramirez can assist the Cubs young hitters in their development.
Since being suspended for a second time under the league's drug policy back in 2011, and subsequently walking away from the Tampa Bay Rays after just 5 games, Ramirez has made a few attempts to get back into baseball. He spent 17 games with the Oakland Athletics at their AAA affiliate, Sacramento, before calling it quits in 2012. And last year Manny was with Round Rock, the Texas Rangers AAA affiliate, for 30 games and had a short stint in Taiwan as well before calling it quits once again.
During Manny's 19 year career he posted a .312 career batting average and 555 homeruns, putting him at 14 all-time. Despite his steroid use, Manny Ramirez was one of the most prolific hitters in baseball for more than a decade and there is definitely a lot he can teach young hitters. Where this deal gets dicey is the downside that Ramirez brings to the table; given his steroid use and his notoriously lazy attitude towards everything but hitting, as well as, his lack of coaching experience, could be an issue.
Presumably Ramirez is being brought in to work with Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, and Christian Villanueva. But who knows if they will listen to Manny, given his past. And who knows if Manny can articulate what he did that made him great. But overall this sounds like a good gamble for Theo Epstein and Co. In a perfect world, Manny comes in and brings energy, fun to the club house and is able to teach these kids something and help them mature as ball players. As previously discussed, Rick Renteria's main focus this year is getting Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro ready to lead this ball club, and now they Cubs have Manny to groom the younger players still on the farm. It should be an interesting summer in Iowa.
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