Many folks cast a skeptical eye towards the Chicago Cubs’ organization on Sunday when the team announced that they had signed Manny Ramirez to a deal to be a player/coach for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs.
Ramirez has a checkered history from his time as a player, with incidents ranging from goofy actions on the field to PED violations. Many people wondered, then, if this move was simply a gimmick to garner attention for a struggling franchise.
Cubs general manager Theo Epstein insists that is not the case. He says this move is in the best interest of the organization. Quoted over on ESPN.com:
“This is not a PR move at all. This is purely a baseball move, specifically a player-development move…He’s extremely accountable. “Right now, he’s extremely honest, and he has a lot to offer in part because of what he went through. You never know in this world. But I think there’s a potential high impact here.”
Ramirez no-doubt has a lot to offer as a hitting coach. Before he cast a shadow on some of his accomplishments he was considered one of the best right-handed hitters to ever play the game. Ramirez earned that reputation with a balanced, powerful, and darn-near perfect swing, not to mention one of the best eyes at the plate that you will ever witness.
The fact that he is also playing for the Iowa Cubs, at 41 years old, might be the part of this development that makes it feel gimmicky. But as long as Ramirez is able to pass on even a small percentage of the practices that earned him so much success at the plate, the fundamentals that stand separate from any antics, this move will pay off for the Cubs.