Manny Ramirez will spend some time near Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara in AAA Iowa as Ramirez begins a stint as player coach for the I Cubs. Ramirez is on a career redemption tour that has taken a path through the minor leagues as Ramirez is hungry for one last shot at MLB playing time.
There's a lot of baggage surrounding Ramirez the player from a PED and a makeup standpoint. He was viewed as a flake late in his Boston career and will have to fight against that perception with the Cubs fanbase. It's a reputation that was well earned in all honesty but this particular front office has been very good about vetting high makeup players in the past and I think they've done due diligence on Ramirez. I think this is a solid move from both a development and entertainment standpoint.
Javier Baez stands to benefit the most from this as his approach has been taken advantage of in recent weeks. Baez has had a mini breakout of sorts but the strikeouts are still plentiful and the young, talented shortstop is still hitting just .203 on the season. It's early but there are some clear indicators that his aggressive gameplan at the plate could use some refinement.
Ramirez, for all his physical talents, was a student of hitting. He had the supernatural ability to place the barrel on the ball that much is certain but he also had an idea of how pitchers wanted to attack him and understood what balls he could hit and which ones he should spit on. There was a refined approach with Manny the hitter that sometimes gets overlooked as Manny the sideshow was the main distraction from the cerebral side of his game.
It's hard to hate the deal on my end. I've laid the reasons why but Dabs said it best:
So Facebook Cubs is likely to be hilarious today and tomorrow, but I find it hard to be against this deal with the limited risk vs upside
— dabynsky (@dabynsky) May 25, 2014