Alert Jim Hendry: Rudy Jaramillo (Not A Dozen Glazed Donuts) Is The Must-Have Item This Off-Season

Chicago Cub vs St. Louis
Cardinals

The Cubs gave their bats a lot of stupid looks throughout the course of the 2009 season.


The Chicago Cubs dismissed hitting instructor Von Joshua, who proved to be the most meaningless mid-season acquisition in the history, on Sunday.  On Monday, the chatter of Ryne Sandberg possibly replacing him began, but was shot down shortly thereafter.

Remember when I questioned the vastly popular idea that Dave Duncan could cure cancer whatever ails the Cubs' pitching staff?  Yeah, that was fun.  And while Dave Kaplan and Bob Verdi think that Duncan and Tony La Russa are basesball's top free agents, they totally are overlooking the guy that could help fix the Cubs' biggest problem.



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Mark DeRosa was one of Rudy Jaramillo's star pupils in Texas. OMG! Mark DeRosa!
 
Texas Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo's contract expires after the season, and T.R. Sullivan suggests he could be highly sought after if and when he hits the open market.  If Jaramillo does not return to the Rangers in 2010, the Cubs should quickly scoop him up, bring him in and sit him down with the team's hitters.

I know the Cubs have already interviewed minor league hitting instructor Dave Keller for the position, but if the Cubs look at the production it has gotten from its minor leaguers that have made it to the big show, they might want to reconsider giving Keller a similar promotion.

Jaramillo is one of baseball's most respected hitting gurus, yet it was a down year in Texas.  The Rangers struck out a club record 1,253 times, had a team OBP of .320 and hit a collective .260, but at the same time, Jaramillo oversaw an offense that scored 782 runs and posted a .764 OPS.  Compare that with the Cubs, who scored 707 runs and posted a .738 OPS only one season after being among the league leaders in each of those categories.

By the way 782 runs and .764 OPS would have ranked fourth in the National League.  For the record, the Cubs ranked 10th in both categories in 2009.

Jaramillo comes highly acclaimed and has been credited for the hitting success of Jeff Bagwell, Juan Gonzalez, Pudge Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Michael Young and ... wait for it ... Mark DeRosa.

DeRosa was a .246 hitter before busting out in a big way under Jaramillo's watch in 2006.  That season, DeRosa set career highs in home runs, runs batted in, doubles, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and total bases.  It was a career year for DeRosa, who flipped that into a three-year deal with the Cubs.

You guys know the rest of the story after that.

Heck, even Alfonso Soriano posted an .814 OPS and 64 dingers in his two years under Jaramillo in Texas.

Another reclamation project Jaramillo helped transform was ... oh the suspense is killing me ... Milton Bradley.  Crazy Uncle Milton had himself quite a one-year career in Texas, posting a .321/.436/563/.999 line with 22 HRs, 32 doubles and 77 ribbies.  Like DeRosa, Bradley parlayed that success into a three-year contract with the Cubs.

That story didn't end so well, I guess.

First baseman Derrek Lee suggested the Cubs didn't need to do much tweaking in the offseason, especially if the team could get a full, healthy season out of third baseman Aramis Ramirez while returning Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano back to their 2008 form.  If there is anyone that could do it, Jaramillo would be the guy.

But, you know, a good lead-off hitter and a true run producer wouldn't be bad additions, either.

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