The Cubs on Sunday signed veteran slugger Manny Ramirez to be a player/coach for Triple-A Iowa.
Ramirez, 41, owns a career line of 312/.411/.585 across parts of 19 big-league seasons. He also has to his credit 555 home runs, 1,831 RBI, 2,574 hits and 1,329 walks. Ramirez was an All-Star on 12 occasions. He hasn't played in the majors since 2011.
"We are excited to welcome Manny to the Cubs organization and look forward to him working with our young hitters,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said in a statement. “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.”
As for the "real mistakes" that Esptein referenced, he's in part referring Ramirez's status as a two-time violator of MLB's drug policy. The first violation resulted in a 50-game suspension in 2009. In 2011, Ramirez agreed to a reduced 50-game ban for his second violation.
As for Ramirez, here's what he had to say about the opportunity:
“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. 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."
Ramirez will report to Arizona for some extended spring-training ABs before joining Iowa.