Manny Ramirez made his debut as a Triple-A player/coach for the Cubs last night, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts while playing left field and batting sixth in Iowa’s lineup.
After the game Ramirez told Cody Ulm of MLB.com:
It feels great just to be here … and to help the young guys just telling them my experiences and the things that I’ve went through. It’s a blessing just to be here.
Here’s video of Ramirez’s first Triple-A at-bat, in which he reached on an error:
Cubs president Theo Epstein has said repeatedly that Ramirez was signed strictly to help mentor the Cubs’ prospects in Iowa, namely slugging, high-upside infielders Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, so even if he actually plays well there at age 42 a return to the big leagues isn’t going to happen in Chicago.
In fact, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago the plan is for Ramirez to play “sparingly” at Triple-A and, if for some reason another MLB team wanted to sign him and call him up to the big leagues, the Cubs would gladly let him go.
The Rockies have signed free agent outfielder/infielder Ian Desmond for five years and $70 million.
Desmond, 31, played his first season as a full-time outfielder with the Rangers in 2016. Before that he was the Nationals shortstop. He’ll almost certainly be an outfielder in Colorado, as the Rockies have Trevor Story at short. Desmond hit .285/.335/.446 with 22 home runs, 86 RBI, 107 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases in 677 plate appearances, though he was much, much better in the first half than the second half.
The Rangers had placed a qualifying offer on him which he rejected, so the Rockies will have to give up their first round pick in the 2017 draft, which is 11th overall. That’s the highest pick a team can surrender under the qualifying offer system, as the first ten picks in the draft are protected.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Marlins have signed lefty Jeff Locke. Terms have yet to be disclosed.
Locke was non-tendered by the Pirates last week after putting up a 5.44 ERA over 127.3 innings in 2016. He’s just 29 and, even if he’s never been super great or anything, he has pitched better in the past, posting a career 4.16 ERA before last season.