Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon to see coaches who also happened to play in baseball. In fact, Frank Chance, one of the Chicago Cubs‘ greatest managers and players of all-time did both at the same time. However, in modern day baseball, we don’t see this as much, if at all anymore. Well, we will see it a little bit as the Cubs announced they have hired former 12-time All-Star Manny Ramirez to be a player coach for their Triple-A affiliate, the Iowa Cubs.
Ramirez was one of the greatest power hitters in major league history and was one of the game’s greatest characters during his illustrious playing career. Giving him a chance to play is a nod to how great he is given his age, but as a coach, Ramirez actually can really contribute to the organization. He will be able to mentor young shortstop prospect Javier Baez, who has a similarly insane amount bat speed. Since Baez projects as the same type of hitter as Ramirez was (not necessarily the stats, but the same approach, etc.), they may instantly click and that could really help the young Cubs slugger as he eyes the major leagues.
Many Cubs fans likely remember Ramirez pretty much single-handedly eliminating the North Siders in the first round of the 2008 playoffs in a three-game sweep after the Cubs won 97 games that season. He was out of his mind that series. The hope of the organization now is that he can bring that flare for the dramatic, his interesting character and, of course, his extensive hitting knowledge into the locker room filled with guys one call away from Chicago. It may seem trivial, but adding Ramirez could really aid in the development of several top hitting prospects in the Cubs’ organization.