Manny Ramirez is back in baseball.
The Chicago Cubs have signed the outfielder to be a player-coach at their Triple-A affiliate, the Iowa Cubs. Although Manny has not played in the major leagues since 2011, he won't be looking to get back there. He'll be helping other players get to the show instead.
Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein made it clear that Ramirez won't be playing for the Cubs this season.
"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,” Epstein said in the press release. “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.”
Manny, who turns 42 this week, will be coaching some of the best minor league prospects in all of baseball. One by the name of Javier Baez, who has been struggling so far this season, posting just a .203 average and a .272 on-base percentage in 158 trips to the plate. He was ranked the 5th best prospect by Baseball America prior to this season.
Ramirez hasn't played in the Major Leagues since 2011, when he played 5 games with the Tampa Bay Rays at the age of 39. He has, however, played in Triple-A in both 2012 and 2013, with the Athletics and Rangers organizations, respectively. He totaled 47 hits in 47 games in both seasons combined.
Over his career, Manny Ramirez has been one of the best hitters of our time. He has totaled 555 home runs, 1831 runs batted in, and a .585 slugging percentage over his 19 seasons in the Major Leagues. However, he had been tested positive for performance enhancing drugs twice late in his career.
"The Cubs have some very talented young hitters, and I would love nothing more than to make a positive impact on their careers," Ramirez said. "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."