No, that’s not a headline from The Onion. Manny Ramirez is back in organized baseball.
The Cubs announced Sunday morning that they’re signing the 41-year-old to be a player/coach at Triple-A Iowa. The emphasis seems to be heavily on the “coach” aspect, as Theo Epstein was very clear that we won’t be seeing Manny trying to field balls off the ivy in Wrigley this year:
“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.”
It sounds like Manny is being realistic about this opportunity, too:
“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.”
What not to do, Part 1:
What not to do, Part 2:
All jokes aside, Manny was one of the scariest hitters of his time, and could have a positive impact on the Cubs’ real prospects in Iowa, namely Javier Baez. Maybe he can even teach Josh Vitters how to talk a walk. At the very least, Theo is doing an old favorite a solid by giving him a foot in the door as a coach, and people will stop talking about Jeff Samardzija trade rumors for a few days.
Ramirez will head to Arizona to get some swings in before joining the I-Cubs. This will be his third Triple-A stop in the past three seasons, having done stints with Round Rock (Texas) last season and Sacramento (Oakland) in 2012.