Manny Ramirez is the newest member of the Chicago Cubs organization as a player/coach for AA Iowa. The Cubs made the announcement Sunday morning and Ramirez will report to the Cubs facility in Mesa before heading to the Pacific Coast League.
"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," Ramirez said in a prepared statement issued by the Cubs. "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. I am passionate about baseball and about hitting, and I have a lot to offer. While I would love to return to the major leagues, I leave that in God's hands. My focus will be on working with the young hitters, making sure they don't make the same mistakes I made, and helping the team any way I can."
Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein spent seven years with Ramirez with the Boston Red Sox.
"We are excited to welcome Manny to the Cubs organization and look forward to him working with our young hitters," Epstein said. "Manny is not only one of the best hitters of all time, he is also a dedicated student of hitting and has proven to be a gifted teacher with younger teammates who have worked with him in the batting cage. Behind the scenes he has always been a tireless worker who is very serious about the craft of hitting. Manny has made real mistakes in the past but he has owned up to them and moved his life in a positive direction the last couple of years. He is in a really great place right now and wants to share the lessons he's learned along the way. We think he deserves another chance and that our young hitters will benefit from it."
"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. 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."
The Cubs organization won't have to wait for 19-year-veteran to report to Iowa to feel the impact as over half the prospects at extended spring training are from Latin America. It won't be too long before Ramirez and Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres and others are sharing a batting practice session. Jorge Soler is also rehabbing in Arizona as well as the rest of the Cubs hitting prospects looking to tap into Ramirez' hitting knowledge.
When the Cubs feel Ramirez is "game ready" he will head to Iowa to share his hitting secrets with Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Christian Villanueva and the rest of the Iowa players. And get some hacks.
Sometimes its not what's said, its who's saying it—and the Cubs prospects will be listening.