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.

  • supergeek24

    Do yall think sveum is just keeping the seat warm for tito to take over when theo. Gets things in order

    • ibcnu2222 (John)

      Could be. Or maybe for someone else. Someone like Sveum is easier to run out of town.

    • gutshot5820

      You guys are a joke. Sveum has done absolutely nothing wrong. He is a manger of a bad team, that is all.

      • Cheryl

        Yes, t’s a bad team and Sveum has done some good things but the consrant change of lineups and the righties ad lefties thing doesn’t help him.

        • hansman1982

          Joe Maddon constantly changes lineups based on L/R splits – ITS CALLED MODERN BASEBALL

          • Cheryl

            He may have had a different level of people to work with, but to me it doesn’t seem to work here.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Why shouldn’t we think that the Cubs would be losing even more often without the L/R splits?

      • GoldFinch

        I wouldn’t call Sveum a “manager” in the literal sense.

  • dreese

    I always thought this was going to happen but I thought they would wait until after the season

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I don’t think you will have to run Sveum out of town. If Theo doesn’t get him some players he can work with in the BIGS he will get tired of the losing and the terrible roster and find his own way out of Dodge. No man can sit around and endure this crap day in and day out for very long. My guess is Sveum will be here til year end and then say Thanks Theo for ruining my life I’ll never be able to get another job managing now cause you hung me with this garbage and made me look like an idiot. Then Theo will go out and sign some FA’s to get us buy for a year and build up the bullpen. Then Tito will come in and run the team next year. Probably has been the secret plan all along.

    • hardtop

      im not sveums biggest fan either.

    • gutshot5820

      Very much doubt it. I think the only people tired of the losing are impatient fans. The FO and coaching staff pretty much knew what to expect and are in it for the long haul.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Since Soriano is hitting much better why do we want to pay him to play for the Indians or someone else? For what miniscule return we might get he might as well stay with us and hit 4th and drive in some runs. He is on track to hit 30HR and 100 RBI. We don’t have anybody else who can do that. If it’s my business I don’t pay a guy $40MM over the next 3 years to be somewhat productive for someone else. He hasn’t embarrassed himself this year in the outfield either. So while we are waiting on the newbies to be ready for the BIGS I say keep him. Since Ricketts can’t afford to fix Wrigley how is it being fiscally responsible to pay Soriano all his money while playing for the Tribe? Ole Man Ricketts might have to come to the office and jerk Juniors bridle a few times.

    • djriz

      In the short term, you are correct. We would not be a better team by trading him, and we wont get much for him. But consider this. His value hasn’t been higher in a long time. So if someone is willing to eat even a few million of his contract, and some low level prospect, make the move.

    • Mick

      At the start of the season, most people were calling for an outright release. So, if a team is willing to eat a few a few million bucks, then a that’s a few million bucks earned to spend elsewhere. Plus, it gives the Cubs a second half look at some AAAA players, opens a spot in LF for LaHair when Rizzo’s promoted, etc.

  • Cheryl

    Sometimes wonder if anyone who was drafted or hired by people before Theo will be gone in two years, no matter if they do a good job or not and that includes players, but they do need to have their own management in place.

    • GoldFinch

      That’s a very good point! When a “regime” change occurs, more than likely all people associated with the former “boss” will be removed from their positions based on “fact” or just “like” or “dislike” for the person.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I think we should make a trade for Youkalis. Send Bowden back Camp and an A baller. We get a real 3b for a couple years that he has left in him. He is a veteran who has played for a winner and can help get this thing back on track. I don’t give Cherington a dollar for him in salary relief though. But Theo will take his salary most likely. I bet a paycheck that he gets Youkalis in here.

    • Mick

      I could see the Cubs and Red Sox hooking up on a trade where Garza goes to Boston and Youk and some premier prospects come to Chicago. Prospects I’d expect to come with Youk would be Matt Barnes, Anthony Renaudo, and Xander Bogearts.

      • nkniacc

        I just don’t see Youk coming to Chi in any deal with the Cubs. Id be interested to see what the Cubs would do if Bos offeres Iglesias in a deal for Garza

        • Brett

          Iglesias does very little for me.

          • nkniacc

            But would the Cubs flip him or Lake in another deal?

            • Brett

              Maybe. But why not just cut out the middle man and instead shoot for a pitching prospect, rather than Iglesias?

              • nkniacc

                That makes sense unless you can’t get who you want

                • Brett

                  Sure. But, at some level, pitching prospects are fungible. You are correct, conceptually, though: you want to land the best prospect(s) you can. Ideally you’d get a guy you actually want to keep, but if you’ve got to make another move, so be it. You want to make sure you get top value.

                  That said, I’m not sure I see Iglesias as that. Ridiculous glove, no bat at all (I don’t really buy his numbers this year yet, anyway).

                  • nkniacc

                    Im with you on his hitting this year.

        • King Jeff

          Youkilis absolutely is not a fit in Chicago. Why trade Garza for an old, overpaid player with horrible third base defense, who is hurt all the time. We don’t need any more of those types of players on the Cubs, they don’t have a DH spot for him, and if it came down to the two, I’d rather keep Soriano.

          • Mick

            The purpose of acquiring Youk in exchange for Garza is for salary cap reasons. The Red Sox made it abundantly clear before the season that they were going to keep their payroll below the $179 million line that makes the difference between them paying zero and them paying a 40% luxury tax. So, your highness, the Cubs would have to balance the salaries in a Garza exchange and Youk actually makes the most sense since Boston has his eventual replacement in Middlebrooks. Notice the prospects I included such as Barnes, Renaudo, and Bogearts; Youk wasn’t the main return in my Garza trade scenario.

  • die hard

    Find a scapegoat and fire him to take notice off of real problems…Teams do this when desperate…The firing is lame and a sure sign that they dont have a clue as to how to fix this mess…

    • Carew

      No, the hitting coach’s job is to teach how to hit and help the players adjust and readjust. The Cubs cannot hit, so the Hitting coach is failing the team, so he gets canned.

    • Boogens

      “Find a scapegoat and fire him to take notice off of real problems…”

      I couldn’t disagree more. Why do they need a scapegoat for today? They’re coming off a very successful draft and just signed Soler. If anything, they’re riding a wave.

      Jaramillo’s firing is most likely the result of a clash in philosophies and that players on the major league roster are going to be traded, necessitating the promotion of players like Rizzo. It’s better to do it now instead of too closely to the promotions.

    • King Jeff

      Every year since Jaramillo took over as hitting coach, the Cubs OBP has dropped. His approach worked in Texas with that talent, it doesn’t work here, and has only been getting worse since he started. Letting a guy go with 3 months left on his contract and letting someone else have a shot at turning the worst offensive team in baseball around isn’t finding a scapegoat, it’s trying to find answers and change an approach that isn’t working.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    I think that’s true with one caveat. I really believe this reflects on Starlin Castro. Whether it’s before the trade line or this winter, I really believe not just the young players soon to be there, but the stated reason, OBP and how poor it is, hits hard at Castro. I think they want to see if there’s anything that can be done to work with him to get him to be what he and so many thing he is. Namely people spout the build around tag and the HOF tag, but his immaturity and approach at the plate reflected in the OBP betrays all of that. Clearly they believe somewhere in that 3-4-5 slot thing Rizzo fits, so I think it’s philosophy and to some extent figuring out if Castro fits in the 3 slot. Thus far the answer is a resounding no, but we’ll see and Theo clearly blamed himself more than Rudy on this one.

    • die hard

      Ryne Sandberg could turn this kid into a star power hitter as Ryne had same timid approach until he was turned around to hit for power….

      • Cubbie Blues

        Castro is anything but timid at the plate. He swings at everything. His problem is selectivity.

  • Bric

    Brett (Ace)- I’ve been going to the BN daily for about 4 years now and this is the first I think I’ve ever heard anyone on this site other than me question his salary, efficiency, or worth on this team.

    Cleary the hitting coach is only as valuable as his players’ production. But apparently all the cherry pickers of stats here up until now have ignored the hitting that correlates to the guy in charge of it.

    That’s why I’ve never been a big fan of stats mongering, because there are so many you pick and choose which ever one you need to make an argument, But why is it every time I questioned his production as hitting coach the response was like crickets at a Daffy Duck Concert? What gives?

    • Brett

      I think I’m missing the question (because, and I can show you the links if you’d like me to dig them up, I questioned Rudy’s performance, the hiring, and the money many times over the past few years).

      The hitting coach absolutely matters. I’m just saying that, this year, the Cubs could have had the best hitting coach in the universe, and the offense still would have stunk. That doesn’t mean it’s worth keeping Jaramillo, though. It’s time to move on from him, and, over time, to move on from the players, too. It’s all a process that takes time.

      • Bric

        Well said. Firing him was a long time coming and probably wouldn’t have made that much difference this year. However, 2 years ago and last year it might’ve been all the difference that we needed.

        I guess that’s why it still sticks in my craw. I always thought I was the lone voice in the wilderness whenever I critized him. But like Ramirez (and to a lesser extent, Soto, and a couple others) Jarimillo always seemed to fly under the radar when it came down to looking at who let us down when we really needed them.

    • calicubsfan007

      I would have responded, I just dont always check every part of BN and I can’t always check. I am crazy busy. I always considered Jaramillo as part of the deal in order to bring Byrd over. I heard so many positives about him. Still thought that he was just part of the Cubs trying to get Byrd to join.

  • OlderStyle

    Theo to Rudy: It’s not you, it’s me.

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