According to a team release this morning by the Chicago Cubs, “Manny Ramirez has been hired to consult with the club’s major and minor league hitters on the fundamental and mental aspects of hitting.”
Ramirez, 42, also consulted for the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate in Iowa last season. The Iowa Cubs’ team slash line did improve from 2013’s .250/.320/.391 to 2014’s .254/.326/.404. But more than a few points increase in batting average or slugging was an increase in morale and overall team attitude, being a good influence on fellow teammates while also sharing his wisdom and experience.
Ramirez was a 12-time All-Star, winning the Silver Slugger Award nine times. When his 19 year career ended in 2011 he left the game with a .312/.411/.585 slash line to accompany his 555 career home runs. His career was not without adversity as he was suspended in both 2009 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and in 2011 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein told ESPNChicago‘s Jesse Rogers that “He was very open and honest with guys on what not to do from his past and lessons that he learned along the way.” Another interesting (and somewhat related) matter popping up in spring training is if Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) user Ramirez and his tumultuous background were welcomed into camp, why not fellow slugger and suspected PED user Sammy Sosa? Epstein isn’t willing (or perhaps just not at liberty) to answer questions about Sosa, deferring all inquiries to team owner Tom Ricketts.
Although Ramirez is at Spring Training and will be spending most of his time in Iowa during the regular season, the Cubs also intend to bring him to Chicago for at least one home stand a month.