Manny Ramirez last played in the Majors in 2011 with the Tampa Bay Rays, playing five games and totaling 17 at-bats. Now 41, Ramirez assumes a unique position as the Chicago Cubs have signed the former Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder as a player-coach for their Triple-A team.
Via ESPN, in a statement released Sunday, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein expressed the value he sees in adding Ramirez to the organization:
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.”
While Epstein ruled out a role on the Cubs Major League team, he didn’t rule out a return for Ramirez with another organization:
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.”
During his career, Ramirez experienced the lows of being suspended for violating the league’s drug policy and the highs of capturing the entire city of Los Angeles. It’s with that experience that Ramirez believes he can be of value to the Cubs’ prospects:
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.”
Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers in August of 2008 and sparked the Dodgers to an NL West division title and NLDS win over the Cubs. He then signed a two-year deal and was suspended for 50 games in 2009 just one month into the season.
Ramirez hit .322 with 44 home runs and 156 RBIs in three seasons with the Dodgers.
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