It did not take long for the Chicago Cubs to move on their new hitting coach. The rumors of the Cubs’ interest in Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo are not yet cold – they just started percolating three days ago – and it looks like it’s nearly a done deal.

GM Jim Hendry has been super aggressive since Jaramillo made it known that he would be leaving the Rangers and most baseball executives expect Jaramillo to choose the Cubs. Look for the Cubs to land him and to sign him to a multi-year deal worth at least $750,000 per season, which would make him the highest paid hitting coach in the game. Kap’s Corner.

There are problems with a signing like this, however. First, and most notably, if Jaramillo signs for a number of years without a buy-out after the first, it could hamper the Cubs’ managerial search next year. Lou Piniella is expected to retire after next season when his contract expires, thus, the Cubs will be in the market for a new manager.

But if they sign Jaramillo to a multi-year deal, it means that the new manager will have to accept Jaramillo as his hitting coach, instead of being allowed to bring in his own guy. That may very well end up fine – particularly if the Cubs go with an internal candidate (Ryne Sandberg or Alan Trammel or Bob Brenly) to replace Piniella. But it could limit the pool of potential candidates, if there are managers out there that want to bring in their own staff.

The other potential problem with the signing is the amount. Paying nearly $1 million for a hitting coach is otherworldly. It smacks of what the Cubs paid to get managers Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella. You are aware that the Cubs will be paying Lou Piniella $4 million next year, right? Most managers in MLB make less than $1 million. Is Piniella really worth that much more? Has he brought that much more value to the Cubs?

The questions will be the same for Jaramillo.

Lastly, it’s worth reiterating that the Rangers regressed offensively this year. Of course, that’s just one of Jaramillo’s 15 years in the gig, so it’s not terribly concerning. He was Milton Bradley’s hitting coach when Bradley had his career year – so who knows how this, and related things, will play out.

  • Lok

    “Most managers in MLB make less than $1 million. Is Piniella really worth that much more? Has he brought that much more value to the Cubs?”

    If you had asked me that question at the start of this year, I would have said yes w/o hesitation. However, this year, Lou looks like a befuddled elderly man who has lost his passion. I know he’s made statements to the contrary, but between the Lou of two years ago, and the Lou of today, I think we did ok. I think we made a mistake by picking up his option to early in the season. I’m all for Ryno or Bob (or even Alan) taking over though.

    • Ace

      You’re right, Lok, that there’s definitely been a noticeable decline in Piniella’s performance from two years ago. Someone needs to invent some manager stats so we can track things like decision-making, intensity, etc.

  • Butcher

    I’m trying to look at this as a good sign — maybe Ricketts is going to be aggressive this offseason…

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Jaramillo (at least what I know of him), but I’m not going to get all jazzed about a new hitting coach.

    • Ace

      Agreed – though Hendry’s laser-like focus usually doesn’t work out for the better.