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Today, the Chicago Cubs fired hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, and replaced him with James Rowson on an interim basis, who had been serving as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator.

I know you’re probably having two disparate reactions in tandem to this news: (1) whoa! and (2) big whoop.

I’m not really having either one.

On the “whoa,” while it is surprising to see Jaramillo dismissed mid-season like this, you probably should have seen the writing on the wall for some time. For one, I was surprised when Jaramillo was brought back at all this season. As a holdover – and a well-paid one – from the Jim Hendry regime, Jaramillo’s aggressive approach never sat well with me, and it never really fit in with what the new front office was all about. Further, Dale Sveum was essentially an incoming hitting coach, himself. The fit just wasn’t there, and that’s to say nothing of the poor results during his two and a half years with the Cubs (2012 was the final year of his three-year, $2.4 million deal).

The other reason I’m not whoa’ing? I actually heard this was coming about two weeks ago. It wasn’t certain, and, because it involved a firing, I didn’t feel comfortable running with it at the time. But, now you know. This has been in the works for some time.

On the “big whoop” thing, I understand what you mean. A hitting coach’s impact, particularly in a given (half) season is almost always overstated. Rudy Jaramillo is not the reason the Cubs aren’t hitting. The Cubs’ crappy roster is the reason the Cubs aren’t hitting.

This move isn’t about trying to make the Cubs magically better in the second half. It’s about moving on.

You know how you can tell for sure? Rowson, Jaramillo’s replacement, was brought into the Cubs’ organization this offseason as the minor league hitting coordinator after spending time in the Yankees’ organization.

Think about that: a new front office comes in, “goes young” in the organization, brings in a new manager, and brings in a new minor league hitting coordinator. Rowson was probably always going to get a crack at the hitting coach job. It just makes sense.

We’ll probably have more on the end of the Rudy Jaramillo era, such as it was, but I can’t say I’m terribly upset today. Jaramillo was, by all accounts, a nice guy, and a smart baseball man. But he never felt like a good fit. Best of luck to him on his next gig.

Tom Beyers takes over as the interim minor league hitting coordinator, a job he essentially held for a couple years before Rowson’s arrival.

  • Leroy K.

    highest paid, and we were 10th best—-in the NL!!!!

  • ETS

    Wouldn’t you want someone dale can “mold”? Dale was not – by any stretch – a bad hitting coach.

  • Mrp

    Somebody needed to be the sacrificial lamb. I kind of thought this might have been the only reason that they kept him around back when it was announced that he was staying on. He would be the easy one to get rid of if things went south (I’m pretty sure the front office knew the odds were going to be good that things would go south).

    With that said, Jaramillo’s hitting philosophy didn’t mesh with the new regime at all. He would have been gone at some point anyway.

  • beerhelps

    Like you Brett, I was surprised he was brought back this season … so long Rudy, I’d say I’m gonna miss you but I never really knew you were here.

  • calicubsfan007

    The hitting did suck this year so far… Guess it was time to get another guy in to help these guys hit again.

  • MichiganGoat

    I called this a few weeks ago. Now expect a modest winning streak. Great move- purge the Hendry era completely. Next up Soriano.

    • calicubsfan007

      Welcome back Michigan. Where was your Soler squeal?

    • calicubsfan007

      And nice call Michigan. The Soriano thing might be a little harder to accomplish…

  • TWC

    “I actually heard this was coming about two weeks ago.”

    Suuuuure you did, BetterNews.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      And you REALLY wouldn’t believe me if I said I knew the Cubs won the Soler bidding a day before it was announced.

      (But if you look at the Bullets from before it was announced, you can see I snuck it in there … just obliquely enough that I could beg off if I was wrong, but point to it if I was right. Turns out, one of my sources is all kinds of awesome.)

      • Doc Evans

        A bucket list item of mine is to have a source. Man that would be cool.

      • hansman1982

        just think how awesome it would be to have all day to sit there and come up with words that if wrong you can simply dismiss but if right you can say – LOOK AT THIS!!! I WAS RIGHT!!!

        ohhhh, Berticus…

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I could write for CBS.

      • TWC

        Actually, I would (and do) believe you. Your source has been dead on in the past.  I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to razz you.

    • hansman1982

      Yes, yes, wonderful anonymous “sources”

      BTW, I called it in 1987 that the Cubs were going to hire Theo Epstein as their GM in 2011.

      • calicubsfan007

        In your DeLorean?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Well, then your source must not be very good.

        The Cubs hired Theo as the President…

        • Packman711

          Bazinga.

      • djriz

        hate to one up you, but I KNEW in 1972 the cubs would have a first baseman named rizzo!
        true story!

        • TWC

          ‘Course, you were assuming it would be you, I take it?

          • djriz

            yep. good guess.

      • cubs1967

        bueller…………bueller…………bueller………….

  • Patrick G

    This might be much of a dumb reasoning, but do you think they replaced him with the minor league hitting coordinator to make Rizzo more comfortable when he is called up? Im not sure its the main reason but that was my first thought when I saw that.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Not Rizzo, specifically, but is is totally unrelated that he’s the guy who’s been working with the young bats and the Cubs are going young? Not at all. There’s a connection.

      • Mrp

        I see Goldstein already shot out a sarcastic tweet about this specific question. Sometimes he would be better off not hitting send.

      • Leo L

        ahh, that’s the the answer to why now.

  • czechxican

    THANK YOU THEO!

  • oswego chris

    Once again, in a season where you have to find your little victories…I think this is a fairly big deal. Keep looking for progress…

  • Drew7

    sigh…well, there really isnt much to say about this. There’s really no way of really measuring the effect that hitting coaches @ the ML-level have, but if the answer is anything but “none”, Rudy needed to go.

  • cubmig

    I thought when the Cubs hired Jaramillo the hitting “problems” would subside and evidence of plate production would begin to show itself. Didn’t happen. It was strange (to me at least) that there wasn’t a lot of outcry over how the hitting dilemma continued. And when Sveum came on board, and knowing he was himself a hitting coach, then I had the feeling that Jaramillo’s days were numbered. Didn’t know when or how it was going to happen, but here it is. I liked Jaramillo. I wish him well. He didn’t have much to work with given the roster he had to work with. But so be it. That’s now history. A new regime, a new direction. Time to put a new history in place.

  • Terry

    Really glad the Cubs dumped Jaramillo, cant think of one young player he helped, wish we would have kept Colvin as he is doing well in Colorado and Stewart isnt hitting although very good on defense at 3rd.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Colvin is doing well, but in very part-time duties.  A big reason why his numbers are good (0.885 OPS) is that the manager is using him only against particular righties.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    “The Cubs’ crappy roster is the reason the Cubs aren’t hitting.”

    Tut, tut: we all know that all rosters are equal.  Clearly Jaramillo was not getting Cubs batters to “want” it enough…..

    Seriously, you nailed the real problem.  The Cubs are 11th in HR, 11th in doubles and 14th in walks.  Small wonder that they are 14th in runs scored: few teams manage to be that bad in all three of these critical categories.  Coaching simply cannot do much about these things.

    • MaxM1908

      I always thought it was because he didn’t teach the Cubs how to hit correctly in clutch situations. I always imagined him holding a session like, “Now, when there’s 2 outs and nobody on, you want to wait for your pitch…but, if it’s bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, and we’re down by one, just close your eyes, and swing at everything that looks low and away.” I’m certain THAT was the problem.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      heh, could be.  Hopefully they’ll get guys who preached the same line as Sox coaches up and down their system: look for a ball you can drive and then try to do so.  That’s for the situation where you have a bat in your hand while standing in the batters box and a pitcher staring at home plate.

      • Drew7

        ahhh…the selectively-aggressive approach – The swiss army knife of hitting!

  • Deez

    He was in the last year of his contract + when a team loses 20 out of 25 somebody had to go & he wasn’t a Sveum or Epstein guy. Basically, he was a dead man walking this season.

  • rcleven

    I wonder if the new FO examined all avenues in Jaramillo’s release. I think he could have gotten two minor league batting coach prospects in a trade.

  • djriz

    Does Rowson get credit for the improvement with some of our minor leaguers this year?
    Rizzo’s shortened swing, Lake’s better plate discipline, Vitter’s increased power? Or were those things just natural progressions?
    Anyway, I hope they have a good replacement in the Minors. I almost wonder if the position Rowson left is more important than Hitting coach in the bigs. I mean, Major Leaguers don’t listen to hitting coaches (talking about you Aramis), do they?

    • Cyranojoe

      Really good questions, including the rhetorical one.

      My question is, what’s with the timing of this? What triggered it? Was it the 12-game losing streak that prompted the firing, and it’s only announced now because the negotiations/arrangements took time to be made?

  • Chris

    Anthony Rizzo left Iowa’s game today with a leg injury. My brother is at the game and reported that Rizzo slid into the dugout after chasing a foul ball pop-up. There was a minor delay. He left the field on his own accord

    • Leroy K.

      I hope he’s OK….

    • hansman1982

      If he walked off the field that is a dang good sign. Torn things in the knee tend to not allow you to walk. Maybe just a giant raspberry?

      • cubs1967

        hmmm…..did you watch game 1 of the bulls-76ers; drose walked off the court; assisted, but he walked. torn ACL can still let you walk straight, but not cut. here’s hoping he is OK….but walking off means nothing.

        • Kyle

          That’s totally true, but that’s usually a plant injury, not a trauma injury.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          I was able to walk off a field after tearing my ACL.  However, it immediately felt like (or so I always imagined) some blew my leg off with a gun or something.  (I also tore cartilage.)

          This sort of thing is more apt to be a really nasty bruise.  A broken bone would have precluded the walking off part.  Now, over the short term, a nasty is not any better: Rizzo might be in a lot of pain and unable to really run for a couple of days.  However, bruises heal pretty quickly with rest.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I think I remember Corey Patterson walking off the field after he tore his ACL, too.

            • Toby

              Patterson wasn’t the same after he tore his ACL. He was showing signs of why the Cubs were high on him.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Yeah he was: he swung at everything that wasn’t a pickoff throw…..

      • When the Music’s Over

        I destroyed my left knee in indoor soccer in high school (torn ACL, torn MCL, cartilage), walked off on my own power and then drove stick shift home. It wasn’t until the next morning until my knee looked ham hock.

        All that said, I am going to guess he’s just fine.

        • Cyranojoe

          Reminds me of Cutler’s MCL injury…

          • calicubsfan007

            Wow, was Cutler torn a new one or what when that happened? People will never view him the same way.

      • hansman1982

        no, you all have it wrong, I was trying to say he didn’t tear his lower leg off from his upper leg…I AM RIGHT!!! (50 BN Points for the first person to Twitter me (@joehansman) with who I am emulating)

  • Eric S

    No surprise. Now maybe we’ll stop swinging at the first two pitches in an at bat, and allowing pitchers to work into the 8th with only 50 pitches thrown. This team has been allergic to walks.

    • HuskerCub

      I am not sure they are allergic to walks after all they are 27th in the MLB in OBP and total walks. It could be worse, albeit not much worse.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        I have allergies.  There are people who have worse allergies.  I still need allergy shots.

        However, a new hitting coach is not going to improve the current Cubs’ roster’s ability to take walks.  That’s just not a skill upon which many MLBers improve.

  • gutshot5820

    How much impact do hitting instructors have? I know it’s basically on the players, but look at the White Sox.

  • DowntownLBrown

    Off with his head!!!!

  • cubchymyst

    Anyone think Dale brings in one of his friends from the Brewers in? If I recall correctly Craig Counsell was rumored to be a potential for Dale’s Staff. If I could grab somone that Dale has played with it would be Robin Yount.

  • JasonB

    Great reporting Brett. While all of the idiots in the MSM are likely coming up with conspiracy theories, you’re take is right on the nose – Rudy doesn’t have the philosophy this FO wants in a hitting coach. I’m surprised they kept him at all.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Jason. I knew the narrative would be that Rudy was taking the fall for a bad offense. Just isn’t the case.

    • Wilbur

      Agreed, just didn’t see Rudy being here next just based on philosophical differences.

  • Fishin Phil

    My initial reaction is “What took so long?”

    • King Jeff

      Mine is the same. I think that Theo and Jed felt that they needed to give him a fair shake because of his reputation and to avoid outright firing all of Hendry’s guys right away. I could see Wilken walking away from the team from any point here out as well.

      • Fishin Phil

        That makes sense.

  • stu

    Can’t hurt to stop swinging at everything. Is Castro capable of a walk anymore? Will Stewart ever be an “average” hitting 3rd baseman? etc.

    What I don’t understand is these guys who take full cuts at the ball when they have no chance of hitting 20 HR’s for a full season? I remember reading when I was growing up that if a hitter was not capable of hitting at least 20-25 HR’s in a season, he should focus on contact mostly. Barney, K. Hill, most of the bench, choke up more on the bat and just focus on contact and walks.

    Comments?

    • calicubsfan007

      I wouldnt use hill as an example of a contact hitter stu. Otherwise, I can agree with what you are saying.

    • Drew7

      There are a couple of problems with that approach, the biggest one being the fact that singles-rates vay so drastically that someone that doesnt possess any power has to rely almost exclusively on plate-discipline in order to produce enough to be effective (as we’ve all seen with Mr. Campana coming back down to earth).

      The second is that, at this level, the fact that guys swing-and-miss is hardly ever because they are trying to kill the ball, but instead just have bad contact skills (which are made up for by…on-base skills and power!).

      It may work when you’re young, but in the MLB, singles hitters just dont survive without at least one other elite tool.

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    I am sure that Rudy is walking away smiling. He is after all a multi-millionaire.

    • gutshot5820

      I doubt Rudy is walking away smiling. Money is relative. What may seem like a lot of money to you may not be for others. He has a unique special skill and was paid appropriately for his talents. No one wants to be fired and looked upon as a failure in their profession.

  • Curt

    now while I don’t see this as a big deal either way, you know you can have the best looking dress in the world. but if u put it on a pig it’s just a pig in a pretty dress, my point is why was jaramillo brought back when everyone from theo on down knew the cubs would look like this.

  • GoldFinch

    Jarimillo is nothing but a “fall” guy. Anyone that follows pro baseball knows this. Batting coaches at the MLB level have very little “impact” in my opinion.

  • GoldFinch

    Is Sveum the next head in the guillotine? One can make a good case if they say yes. He seems to be more of an “assistant” manager than a manager.

  • LaHair4MVP

    He should have been fired in the offseason.

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