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Cubs sign Manny Ramirez to be player-coach at AAA Iowa

May 25, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

manny ramirez dodgers getty Getty Images

Mark D. Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Cubs have signed — or, more appropriately, “hired” — veteran slugger Manny Ramirez to be a player-coach for their Triple-A affiliate in Iowa. There are no designs for him to make it to Chicago.

“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,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said in a statement Sunday.

“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,” added Ramirez, who turns 42 years old this week.

Iowa’s roster includes top shortstop prospect Javier Baez, who ranked fifth this year on Baseball America‘s Top 100 but is batting just .203/.272/.392 with 54 strikeouts in 37 games. Top third base prospect Kris Bryant — ranked eighth on Baseball America’s list — could be on the way to Iowa soon from Double-A Tennessee.

Ramirez was arrested in 2011 on charges of domestic battery against his wife and there’s the performance-enhancing drugs stuff too, but he and Theo obviously know each other well from their days with the Red Sox and it’s not like Manny is going to be a distraction if his daily responsibilities are in Des Moines.

Maybe the .312/.411/.585 career major league hitter can help Baez improve his plate approach.

  1. Craig Calcaterra - May 25, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Manny being Mentory.

    • nbjays - May 25, 2014 at 4:36 PM

      Beats Manny being Mental, which we have seen for many years.

  2. jre80 - May 25, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    Rediculous. Glad I’m not a cub fan.

    • sportsfan18 - May 25, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      Ridiculous is not knowing how to spell ridiculous…

      I’m glad you’re not a Cub fan too…

  3. 4cornersfan - May 25, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    A Manny sighting! And only a few days after a story about ARod. They serve as dim reminders of the target-rich environment that was.

    • jerze2387 - May 25, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      Manny and arod handled the whole getting caught thing completely differently so comparing the 2 doesn’t really work. And correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t manny at some point admit being wrong and say he served as an example what not to do? Arod had lawyers and tried to cover it up for years afterward

      • blacksables - May 25, 2014 at 3:18 PM

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but the word you’re looking for is ‘two’, not ‘2’.

        Not that hard.

      • jerze2387 - May 25, 2014 at 6:35 PM

        They have this new thing called numbers, which can be used when referring to multiples of something.

      • 4cornersfan - May 26, 2014 at 2:28 AM

        I was talking about media coverage, not the relative merits of the way that the two players dealt with PED charges. You appear to be one of those who will never pass up an opportunity to hate on a person who you do not know and who never caused you any harm. This irrational behavior is based solely upon media reports and attitudes expressed by others. Think for yourself, don’t be a sheep.

  4. edelmanfanclub - May 25, 2014 at 1:29 PM

  5. spyder9669 - May 25, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    Great hitter. By all accounts a good teammate who stayed to himself for the most part. No problems with this.

    • jerze2387 - May 25, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      Agreed. “Manny being manny” never seemed malicious or mean spirited in any way

  6. zackd2 - May 25, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Isn’t it a bit late to start changing guy’s approach by the time they hit AAA? Oh Manny’s here now, time to take a pitch.
    Seems like the bigger impact would be down at Low or High-A ball with kids right out of high school or international countries.

    • roundballsquarebox24 - May 25, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      Guys are constantly trying to learn and improve their approach throughout their entire careers. Even Big League veterans can always use some advice from one of the best hitters to ever play the game.

      • zackd2 - May 25, 2014 at 3:39 PM

        I understand guys try. But how often does getting that advice/exposure actually show up in results? Seems like it belongs in “Player X is in the best shape of his life” category of stories reported. Does Robinson Cano walk more because he talks with ARod/Tex/etc, or does he walk more as he’s gained power numbers and reputation around the league? Both?

        Just an observation.

      • 4cornersfan - May 26, 2014 at 2:34 AM

        Players change their stances, bat and hand positions and footwork all the time. Its part of the continual adjustments you make as the pitchers change their approach and when your body changes as you mature.

    • roundballsquarebox24 - May 25, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      Guys can definitely tweak their approach or mechanics at any time throughout their careers. Look at Jose Bautista. He made a subtle change in his hitting mechanics as a well-established major leaguer and became the hitter that he is today. Barry Bonds’ visit with the Giants in spring training helped Angel Pagan. Pagan himself said that Bonds helped him with his mental approach, and stressed how much it helped to have Bonds come in and mentor him. Look no further than Yasiel Puig. Yes, he still continues to make mental blunders on the field, but they are declining every day. By working with Mark McGwire and the Dodgers’ coaching staff, he has learned how to lay off the breaking stuff off the plate. He has changed his approach and is taking walks, and getting himself some good pitches to hit. He is learning every day, at the major league level. Manny Ramirez can definitely help out some minor leaguers in AAA who have the skill, but could use some of Manny’s wisdom and philosophy on hitting.

      • zackd2 - May 26, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        I agree that guys can make adjustments. But the overall impact? Talking a handful of guys out of 1000s of players in the majors and minors. I just don’t believe the impact is as large as every time a former player becomes a coach or an elite FA signs with a new team.

    • roundballsquarebox24 - May 26, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      I see what you’re saying. But, I still say that it is much more common than you think for guys to tweak or adjust certain things about their game, many times because of the advice of a coach or teammate. Another recent example is Casey McGehee. McGehee has been a dead-pull hitter his entire career. He ran into 20 homers a couple of times, but that was about as far as his offensive production went. He spent last year in Japan, and now he is a completely different hitter. By facing the Japanese pitchers and working with the coaching staff over there we was able to completely overhaul his approach. This year with the Marlins? 30 RBI so far. He is hitting cleanup for the Marlins and providing some pretty good protection behind Stanton. He has done it all with ONE homerun. Fully going the other way and up the middle with runners on base. Shorter swing, with a straighter hand path to the ball. Such a drastic change after a guy has been in the majors for 6 years. There have been countless other examples throughout the game of guys making adjustments and changing; for better or for worse. Is Manny going to transform the Cubs’ triple-A club and make every guy a slugger? Probably not. However, you be sure that his knowledge on how to attack pitchers and how to handle himself in the batters box will be useful to any group of young hitters..

  7. Caught Looking - May 25, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    Is this heaven?

    It’s — it’s Iowa

  8. Carl Hancock - May 25, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    So the Cubs welcome Manny into the fold as a coach no less but still leave Sosa out in the cold. Stay classy Chicago.

  9. roundballsquarebox24 - May 25, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Manny is one of the smartest hitters I’ve ever seen. He seemed so clueless everywhere else. But when he was in the batter’s box, I have never seen another hitter more focused on his mission than Manny Ramirez. He was extremely selective, and would “set-up” pitchers to throw him his pitch. Yes, Manny was a power hitter but he wasn’t just hitting bombs every day. He knew every situation, had his book on every pitcher, and when the game called for it, he knew when and how to just put the bat on the ball and get the runs in. Some people say that RBI is just a reflection of how many ABs a guy gets with RISP, which is partially true, but I have never seen a better “RBI guy” than Manny Ramirez between about 1998 and 2005. He even knew when to strike out. I heard him say once in an spanish interview, that if he knew that he was constantly pounding a guy’s curveball into the ground for a groundout, he was obviously looking for a fastball. If there is a runner on first and the game is tight, if he saw a 2-strike curveball coming, he would simply take it. Strike out with nobody out vs. a rally-killing double play. This reflects why he is 36th out of the thousands of guys who have played the game in fewest double-plays grounded into. This is very good for the young hitters in the Cubs’ organization. I would love to see Manny have some success and stay in the game he obviously loves, even if it’s not in the Big Leagues..

  10. musketmaniac - May 25, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    GREAT, kinda funny considering I argued for the player/coach only a week ago on hbt.

  11. Old Gator - May 25, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    And he can teach the young outfielders how to catch a fly ball with their sagittal sutures….

  12. doctornature - May 25, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    In related news, the AAA Iowa travelling secretary just resigned with predjudice

  13. drewsylvania - May 25, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    It’s for ticket sales, of course.

  14. jwbiii - May 25, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    Iowa is hitting very poorly. Last in runs, 15th of 16 in HRs, and the trifecta of last in BA, OBP, and SLP. They could use some help. Some of this is certainly due to park effects. The Midwestern teams (mostly former American Association) tend to play in pitchers’ parks, the Pacific teams tend to play in hitters’ parks. They play a very unbalanced schedule, so Iowa and, say, Salt Lake have played in a very different group of parks. They could use some help.

    • mazblast - May 26, 2014 at 12:04 AM

      It could also be because the previous Cubs regime drafted really, really poorly. A conversation with Manny (in whichever language) is not going to turn these guys into major league hitters.

  15. bbk1000 - May 25, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    Yet they don’t talk to Sosa….haha

    • boogerhill - May 25, 2014 at 9:48 PM

      Corky?!

  16. jre80 - May 25, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    Rediculous sportsfan. Not ridiculous. Dumbass

    • derklempner - May 26, 2014 at 12:22 AM

      Do you honestly think it’s spelled “rediculous” and not “ridiculous”? You’re on the Internet; would it be so hard to Google the word and learn how to spell it properly?

      At the very least. doesn’t the spell checker in your web browser underline the misspelled word (rediculous) for you after you type it?

      • bbk1000 - May 26, 2014 at 8:37 AM

        Actually it’s slang for ridiculous….

  17. mikhelb - May 25, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    Maybe Theo hopes that Manny teaches their young players how to dope properly while Theo protects them from the doping tests while knowing perfectly what is going on, like what happened in Boston where he protected Manny and Ortíz, and as said by more than one player: hired medics and experts to teach them how to roid properly. Funny that Theo never had to answer why he kept checking who was roiding to acquire those players and never actually contacting the league to tell them he knew who was doping (Gagnè everybody?). Knew about his players relationship with Presinal and never spoke… and of course also helps that senator Mitchell was a close friend of him, both working with the sox back then.

    • Reflex - May 25, 2014 at 10:03 PM

      Hows the axe grinding going? And are you grinding that axe equally against the other 29 teams who participated equally?

      • boogerhill - May 26, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        Don’t axe me!?

  18. boogerhill - May 25, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    WOMANny is splitting a new batch of hormones with ROIDtiz!

  19. mazblast - May 26, 2014 at 12:06 AM

    Either Theo is totally ignoring Manny’s history, or is still infatuated with the Red Sox of 10 years ago, or Manny is broke and needs a job–or some combination of the three.

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