Has anyone ever seen the cartoon “The Cat Came Back?” Basically, this guy gets a cat, and the cat tears up all his crap. He spends the rest of his life (albeit a short one) trying to get rid of the cat, but every time he gets back to his little house on the hill, the cat is there tearing up more of his stuff. There’s a little song in it and everything; it’s great. Anyway, that’s all I kept thinking about when I heard the news that Manny Ramirez (no, that’s not one of the Marley brothers in the picture above) is back in baseball. Who went and did a stupid thing like that? Why, Theo Epstein and the Cubs, of course!
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear here, though. The Cubs in no way expect Manny Ramirez to contribute to the Major League roster at any point. A Statement from Theo Epstein:
“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.”a
So here’s my question: If the Cubs have no interest in ever playing him in the Major Leagues, why make him a player/coach? Why admit that he might have a chance at coming back with another team? Why put him in AAA? I don’t doubt Epstein’s evaluation of Manny as someone who was a tireless worker behind the scenesb, and someone who could really help some young players in the batting cage, but is he a potentially good enough coach to let him also play in AAA? AAA is the last level before the big leagues. That’s when you’re supposed to be focusing on guys that will be able to help your team at the next level. That’s not where you hire a soon-to-be 42 year old to get some at bats to see if he still has what it takes while coaching.
If anything, they should have hired Manny to just be a coach, but at a lower level of the minors. That way, he can have the most impact on the Cubs prospects. Also, the fact that Epstein even mentions that Manny might be able to open some eyes and get picked up by another big league club just tells me that they secretly hope he’s good enough for them to call him up. If they didn’t think he might have something in the tank, they would have let another team make this deal with Manny. Something tells me that no other team would have, though. If they really want him as a coach, they’ll wait for him to be fully retired, and hire him as a coach.
I’m not falling for it, Cubs. I hope Manny plays well in AAA and they do call him up, because we need more “Manny being Manny” moments in our lives.
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