Chicago Cubs’ General Manager Theo Epstein announced in a statement this morning that the team is bringing in 41-year-old Manny Ramirez to serve as a player/coach for their Triple-A affiliate in Iowa. Epstein and Manny have a history together; Epstein was the GM in Boston for six of Manny’s eight years there, and was the one who finally sent him packing in 2008.
The mercurial slugger last appeared in the majors in 2011 with the Rays, and Epstein insists that this move was not made with designs towards Manny joining the Cubs’ big league team:
“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.”
It’s a curious move that at least will divert some attention away from the Cubs’ atrocious on-field play this year. They’re already 9.5 games out of first in the NL Central, sport a disappointing 18-29 record, and are in the bottom five in MLB in pretty much every offensive category.
It can’t get any worse, right?