The Cubs offense is already putting new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo to sleep.
A couple of years ago, my roommate and I were discussing the upcoming Major League Baseball offseason. It started as a hot stove chat and turned into me analyzing who would go where and for how much. Back then, I wrote a blog that was not TBDS and made predictions on a handful of players.
I was spot on in each prediction. He would later suggest MLB execs were reading my blog. So, Jim Hendry, if you're out there reading. Thanks. Click a link and help some brothas get paid. Oh! And stay tuned for my offseason guide to
There really is no denying this timeline:
- Alert Jim Hendry: Rudy Jaramillo (Not A Dozen Glazed Donuts) Is The Must-Have Item Of The Offseason (The Big Dead Sidebar, Oct. 6)
- Is Rudy Jaramillo On Cubs Radar? (Chicago Tribune, Oct. 14)
- Cubs are in contact with Jaramillo via@SI_JohnHeyman (via @bigdeadsidebar)
- Cubs to interview Jaramillo (Chicago Tribune, Oct. 16)
- Cubs to meet with Jaramillo next week (MLB.com's Carrie Muskat, Oct. 17)
- SI's Jon Heyman tweets: "hitting guru rudy jaramillo likely to join #cubs. expected to become baseball's highest paid coach at 800 G's per." (via @SI_JonHeyman, Oct. 19)
- Cubs hire Jaramillo to be hitting coach (Cubs.com, Oct. 21)
Critics are quick to point out (and rightly so) the Texas Rangers offense struggled in 2009 as they struck out 1,253 times, scored only 782 runs and posted a team OPS of .764. In fairness, the 782 runs and .764 OPS would have ranked fourth in the Natioal League in 2009. As a comparison, the Cubs scored 707 runs and posted a .738 OPS ranking 10th in the NL only one season after being among the league leaders in each of those categories.
His success stories are plentiful. Jeff Bagwell, Juan Gonzalez, Pudge Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Michael Young, Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler learned under Jaramillo's watchful eye. So, did Mark DeRosa, who was a career .246 hitter before joining Jaramillo and the Rangers. Since then, DeRosa has moved on to balance the budget, revive the United States economy, find a cure for every known sexually transmitted disease ever known to man and solve every unsolved mystery in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., Miami and Chicago.
Jaramillo won't be without pet projects in Chicago. He'll be looking for a way to refine Alfonso Soriano's swing in Chicago as he drops to the middle of the order. In 2004, Soriano was the Rangers' No. 3 hitter and posted a slash line of .280/.328/.476/.804 with 22 home runs and 78 runs batted in to go along with 11 stolen bases. Soriano became the team's No. 5 hitter in 2005 and had slash stats of .270/.315/.523/.838 with 30 HRs and 93 RBIs. Those are the kinds of numbers Soriano needs to put up over the next few years as he attempts to justify the remaining five years, $90 million on his contract.
If the impossible happens and Milton Bradley is welcomed back to Chicago with open arms, Jaramillo can proudly raise his hand and say helped Bradley focus his talents on the baseball diamond where he led the American League in on-base percentage and OPS in 2008. But remember kids, anything is possible ... but not everything is probable.
Other projects Jaramillo should look to conquer are as follows:
- Geovany Soto, who fell flat on his face after a rookie season in which he slugged 23 homers and posted an .868 OPS.
- Mike Fontenot, who went from Lil' Babe Ruth to lil' bitch in one season.
- Ryan Theriot, who absolutely sucks in September.
- Aaron Miles, who hit 15 percentage points higher than his listed weight.
While some might dismiss the hiring as a placebo effect or as a patch work job. Those are the same people whose pants tightened when the thought of Dave Duncan coaching the Cubs' pitching staff crossed their mind.
Welcome to Chicago, Rudy. Now, may you be blessed with talented hitters for the next three seasons.