There’s an outside chance the Chicago Cubs could add an accomplished hitter to the team this winter, albeit a retired one. The possibility of former slugger Manny Ramirez joining the Cubs coaching staff is a realistic one, should Ramirez officially retire.
Ramirez, 42, spent time with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs this season as a player-coach, earning positive reviews from the front office. He hasn’t officially decided on his future plans, leaving Theo Epstein to avoid speculation.
"“Manny has not decided to retire as of yet,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said Tuesday. “He did an outstanding job for the organization this year and we’re going to continue to stay in touch depending on what he wants to do in his career.” H/T Jesse Rogers, ESPNChicago.com"
"“He’s teaching me what to look for ahead of time from a pitcher,” said Baez, “He knows how they are going to pitch me.”"
While part of the I-Cubs, Ramirez wasn’t sure then what his future would hold. He had expressed that he enjoyed coaching.
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There was always a lot of bad press that followed Ramirez around during his playing days. Lazy in the field, disinterested, difficult to manage. And then of course there came the PED suspensions. Which is about the time Ramirez sort of just faded away from the Majors, but not from baseball.
He was a career .312 hitter, hit 555 home runs, and knocked in 1,831. No matter what your perception is of him as a person, he was a dominant hitter. And you would have to believe that Epstein knows him well. If he was high-risk, it’s unlikely he would have been brought in to help in Iowa. That team wasn’t hurting, talent was already on the field. That kind of move may have seemed like a gimmick at the Single-A level, but not in this case.
Ramirez may not be able to produce at the plate anymore, but he still has plenty to offer. Part of the reason for the hiring of Rick Renteria was to bridge the gap between the spanish-speaking players and management. Ramirez, who is Dominican, can only help along those lines.
I personally wouldn’t mind seeing “Manny being Manny” in the Cubs dugout next year.