The Chicago Cubs have fired hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo Tuesday. Cubs fans may recall the prior front office regime luring Jaramillo away from the playoff contending Texas Rangers prior to the 2010 by throwing money at him. There was also the angle of aging slugger Alfonso Soriano having a great relationship during his time in Texas, and bringing the hitting coach to Wrigley Field was suppose to revive both the left fielder’s bat as well being the magic cure for an anemic Cubs offense ever since the 2008 NLDS loss.
During Jaramillo’s time at Cubs hitting, not much has changed, while the Rangers have maintained their reputation as of one of the offensive powerhouses in all of Major League Baseball. The lack of a dramatic improvement on the offensive side of the game is most likely a combination of the hitting coach not meeting expectations and the opportunity for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to do away with another link from the Jim Hendry era. Jaramillo was in the final year of his contract.
The position vacated by Jaramillo will be filled by James Rowson, according to the Chicago Tribune. Rowson was a minor league hitting coordinator in the organization and will hold the job on an interim basis. Prior to joining the Cubs this season, Rowson was in the New York Yankees organization for six years and had served in the same capacity before his promotion today.
It remains to be seen whether Rowson can revive the 2012 edition of the Cubs offense with about four months left in the season, and whether he will be a
candidate to be the permanent replacement for 2013 and beyond.
It will also be interesting to see how players that liked Jaramillo will respond the rest of the season. In addition to Soriano, keep in mind that Jaramillo is the only Major League hitting coach kids like Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney have known so far in their careers. There has always been an ongoing debate about just how much impact a hitting coach can have on a Major League player, especially a veteran player, but with the team in rebuilding mold, it will be interesting to see how this temporary move and the future permanent move will factor into the renovation project.