Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry had a fairly good off-season last winter, as he seen success in the players he acquired in Marlon Byrd, Carlos Silva, and even Xavier Nady (Who played well once he was fully recovered from his Tommy John Surgery). However, there is one move that has to look very questionable up till this point. And that is handing out a 3 year/ $2.4MM contract to hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo.
Remember all the propaganda the Cubs were shelling out to their fans about Jaramillo, about how he would improve the numbers from players such as Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto, Aramis Ramirez. Lets see if the “Jaramillo Effect” truly did improve the Cubs offense.
In 2009, Soriano battled with injuries and ended up missing the last month of the season. He finished with a line of .241/.303/.424 with 20 home runs and 55 RBI’s.
In 2010, where Soriano started more games than he has ever before with the Cubs, Soriano finished with a line of .258/.322/.496 with 24 home runs and 79 RBI’s.
2009 was a year to forget for Soto, as he really struggled on offensive and on defense. Soto finished the season with a line of .218/.321/.381 with only 11 home runs and 47 RBI’s.
After Soto entered the 2010 season with a new attitude and healthier appearance, his numbers showed great improvement as he had a line of .280/.393/.497 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI’s.
Aramis Ramirez basically was non existent during the 2009 season because of a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a little over two months. However, he still was productive when he was in games as he had a line of .317/.389/.516 with 15 home runs and 65 RBI’s.
For whatever reason, Ramirez just never was productive during the 2010 season. He finished the season strong after a very poor first half, but with the first half being what sunk the Cubs, Ramirez was the biggest disappointment for the 2010 Chicago Cubs. His line dropped to .241/.294/.452 while he still hit 25 home runs and drove in 83.
Of the three players that were expected to see the biggest influence from Rudy Jaramillo, only one of them significantly improved from their prior season. Also, those three are prime example of the lack of run production the Cubs had during the season.
Now let’s look at how the team did overall on offense between 2009, and 2010. To begin with 2009, the Chicago Cubs were led by hitting coached Gerald Perry and Von Joshua. For most of the year, the Chicago Cubs offense was ineffective and really cost the Cubs a lot of victories. The team line for the 2009 Chicago Cubs was .255/.332/.407 with 161 home runs, 2,232 RBI’s, and 707 runs scored.
After the poor offensive season in 2009, the Cubs decided to bring in widely respected hitting Rudy Jaramillo to help cure their offensive struggles. But to be honest, the Chicago Cubs fell victim to the same lack of run production that they did in 2009. They finished with a line of .257/.320/.401 with 149 home runs, 2,213 RBI’s, and 685 runs scored.
Now it is hard to blame the players, because for the most part the 2009 lineup was the same as the 2010 lineup. With the Cubs even improving their outfield production by getting rid of Milton Bradley, and signing Marlon Byrd. So,with all of the Cubs run producing stars struggling at one point or another in Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, and Alfonso Soriano the blame should fall on Jaramillo’s shoulders. However, this is probably the prime reason why the Chicago Cubs need a quality run producer this winter, something they have been looking for, for some time now.