From the Wire … Cubs Fire Rudy Jaramillo

The Cubs have dismissed hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and replaced him with James Rowson. Rowson joined the Cubs in the off-season after spending six seasons in the Yankees organization. Rowson had been serving as the Cubs minor league hitting coordinator.

James Rowson takes over on an interim basis as the Cubs hitting coach.

According to Buster Olney, there was basic philosophical split between Rudy Jaramillo and new Cubs’ regime and Olney is not the first to report the differences. Jarmillo and the Cubs no longer believe in the same things. With the recent press that Jaramillo was receiving, this change comes as no surprise.

Jim Hendry hired Rudy Jaramillo on October 21, 2009. Jaramillo is making $850,000 on the final season of the three-year deal he signed.

Tom Beyers was named the Cubs interim minor league hitting coordinator.

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  • Chadaudio

    Shoot.  Already commented about this in the other thread… I’ll just paste it here.

    Wow!  Even with the terrible offense, I have to say that I’m actually a bit surprised.Jeff Baker, Soto, Stewart… these guys have problems well outside of what Rudy can fix.  LaHair and Campana just seem to be slumping – don’t see that this is Rudy’s fault either.Guess it’s all about “cleaning house”.

    • DWalker

      Its not really a surprise, its probably fair to say he was on borrowed time as soon as Theo moved in, I think a lot of people expected him to be replaced last winter. Although he had good success with some hitters and organizations in the past, his aggresive plate style does not mesh with Theo’s emphassis on disciplined, drawn out at bats.

      As little as Rudy probably was probably influencing Baker, Stewert, Soriano etc; with what will probably be the player moves later this year, it would be a measured factor if they wanted him working with players moving up from the minors. Rudy’s stock also didn’t go up with the report from Boston on Byrd that it was just a minor issue in his swing that was keeping him back (not withstanding the decision recently to DFA him). I also noticed that the press releases made sure Dale got the credit as the one who pushed a lighter bat on Soriano, not Rudy or a general “we” I might have expected.

      Lastly, a hitting coach always makes a good scapegoat for a poor hitting team. Its a shake up move showing “hey, we are doing something!” even though it seldom makes a differnce. In this case, the cynic in me wonders if in part they kept him around just for a messy midseason release like this.  

      • Chadaudio

        I see your point… but that was sort of what I was saying.  If you were going to cut Rudy for the sake of the regime change… why didn’t you do that already this winter?

        I got the sense that they kept Rudy because he was respected as one of the best.

        Interesting point about Byrd… I hadn’t heard that before.

        • DWalker


          its the kind of thing you would expect a hitting coach to be looking at with a struggling player.Its disappointing Boston saw it and the Cubs didn’t.  

          I can’t really disagree with you, Rudy had a lot of success in Texas, so they probably did keep him hoping that the philosophical differnces could be overlooked and he would get something out of the guys. I have little doubt he’ll end up with another club before long. I think his eventual replacement will fit not only fit the plate discipline mentality, but will also be a lot more analytical then Rudy. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if they start  bringing in motion capture technology to break down at bats into computer data.

          • Chadaudio

            I guess if you read this article 4 days ago, you would have seen this move coming… I hadn’t read it until today


          • SuzyS

            Chadaudio…thanks for the article…it was educational.
            Re: Jaramillo…I basically agree with DWalker…But this isn’t surprising at all…2nd worse team in baseball fires it’s hitting coach…what else is new?

          • Chadaudio

            So true Suzy… so true.

          • Roland

            I heard a Darwin Barney interview on the radio about a month back.  He was asked about Dale and Darwin talked about how Sveum had told the hitters he understood that they might only see one good hittable pitch in an at bat and he wasn’t going to hold it against them if they took a good swing at the first pitch but grounded out.  Kinda surprised me a bit.

          • gary3411

             The key: if that’s a ‘good hittable pitch’ of course you swing at the first one. Being down 0-1 is not good, but it’s better than swinging at a cutter on the outside corner first pitch (unless you’re looking for that specifically).

  • Scott McMeekan

    I wonder if it’s as simple as Theo realizing that in the second half he’s bringing up Rizzo (and maybe more?) and that Rowson has the boys RAKING in AAA so why mess with success?  Aaron, Neil, Paul or Tony…have a thought on this?

    • Chadaudio

      Good point Scott.  It’s still a surprise though.  Jaramillo is regarded as one of the best hitting coaches in the game.

      • gary3411

        I bet Friedman, Beane, Daniels, Anthopoulos, Cherington, Cashman, Byrnes etc. have a much different view. I’ll bet my life savings none of those guys hire him as the hitting coach.

    • BosephHeyden

       The Cubs already tried this with Von Joshua.  The Cubs were “raking” in Triple A with him as hitting coach, they brought him up, and the Cubs continued to not hit.

    • Neil

      Scott, this does not surprise me … I thought he would not be asked to return when the new regime took over. I was just speaking with someone about this the other day and I was asked if I thought he would be back and I said no. I think this has to do more with the philosophical differences between Jaramillo and the new regime than anything else. I do not think it has much to do with the young guys that should be up soon but more as a shift in philosophy from top to bottom in the organization.

      • Chadaudio

        That’s what is so odd.  If it is indeed philosophical differences… then that should have been really apparent before the season started.

        I’m not saying it’s a bad decision.  Nor am I saying it will make much of a difference one way or the other.  Just weird timing.  Especially for a coach that is so highly regard.

        • Tony_Hall

          Maybe because he is so highly regarded, that they gave him the chance to work out the differences.  The timing is simple, the draft is over and now the focus is on the major league team.

          • Chadaudio

            That makes sense too Tony… good point.

  • SomeGuy27

    I’m of the opinion hitting coaches really aren’t worth a damn to begin with and in this case I can see where there was a definite philosophical difference.  I don’t have the numbers nor will I take the time to research it, but to me Cubs hitters since Jaramillo was hired became super aggressive at the plate.  I think his philosophy was to jump on the first in-your-zone pitch you see in an at bat.  Can’t prove it, just what it has seemed to be since he came on.  It works for some hitters and I know there are guys who swear by him but I’ve always felt you need to work counts and fatigue pitchers–I say that as a soft tossing lefty pitcher who loved facing aggressive hitters–they always made my days easier. 

  • paulcatanese

    Hitting coaches are all about reaching into the players head and getting them to try the approach that they believe in.
    Also they need a complete breakdown of what the swing and contact is all about, and be able to relate that to the player.
    More often than not ML hitters feel they are above what the hitting coach is trying to convey to them, be it zone,stance,swing plane, etc.

    Some players will just not be messed with and don’t believe a hitting coach will help at all, so it’s an every day struggle to try and reach those who don’t .

    Apparantly Rudy did not meet the criteria that management was looking for and decided a change was in order, more than likely the change was initiated by cutting costs (maybe) On the other hand
    Sveum is also strong in the hitting coach department and think this had more to do with Rudy leaving than anything else.

    Tell tale signs of that are all over the place, with the most significant one being to get Soriono to switch to the lighter bat, and to the other end of it Castro seems to getting more selective.

    Bottom line, who needs two hitting coaches, and one brought in with a lesser degree of influence was more palatable to Sveum.

  • BosephHeyden

    They’re saying “philosophical differences” lead to the split.  Fair enough.  That was the last remnant of the non-Theo Cubs and, for better or worse, this is Team Theo’s situation now.  All the successes are on them, and every failure is equally on them.  If they want this season to be a step in the right direction, their goal is 71 wins.  Because this team was able to accomplish at least that with a much worse coaching and management staff behind it.

    • John_CC

      When they ship Soriano, that will be the last remnant of the Hendry Era Cubs.  But we’re getting closer.

      • Chadaudio

        Don’t forget Soto, Barney, and Reed Johnson.  

        … Shoot, everyone but Stewart, DeJesus, Moholm and T. Wood.

        • cubtex

          Exactly….what is he talking about??? Shark, Dempster,Castro,Soto,etc.

          • Chadaudio

            True.  I knew what he meant though…. It’s the contracts he is talking about.

            Jaramillo was way over-paid… just like Soriano.

          • BosephHeyden

             I’m not talking about players.  I’m talking about coaches and game mentality.  Aramis Ramirez and Derek Lee being the exceptions, the Cubs played according to the coaching staff’s philosophy.  When it was bad, the Cubs were bad.  When it worked, the Cubs worked. Now that the Cubs are working with a fresh coaching staff and everyone seems receptive to the new coaching (no “knowing my own swing” or “knowing my own arm”).  This is the now pure Team Theo’s coaching philosophy at play.

          • John_CC

            Yes, you understand Chad.

        • cubs1967

          hmmm…he actually brought back reed plus dewitt, baker, koyie hill, rod lopez, he traded for volstad, t wood, maholm, dejesus, cardenas, camp, bowden, corpas, rizzo, saffelt, the majority of the team is team theo;s and the few that have done good are JH leftovers in smardz, castro, lahir, demp, garza……this 50 win team maybe is team theo’s………

  • gary3411

    Thank God. I hope  someone can teach Castro can lay off a ball now so he can finally become the star we hope.

    • Dorasaga

      I need that. I’ve owned Castro on all my fantasy teams for years. I can’t stand him struck out 43 times but walked 6, and in some cases saw none in 10 days or 2 weeks. Drove me nuts.

  • cubs1967

    Rizzo has left today’s game; slid into the dugout; knee hurt; no other updates so far……….anyone watching the game????

    • Chadaudio

      Crap.  Could he walk off on his own?

      • Neil

        Nothing official but the reports are that Rizzo is fine, walking now with a slight limp and was removed for precautionary reasons more than anything else.

        • Chadaudio

          Phew… thanks for the good news Neil.

      • Neil

        He has taken a beaten past two days. He was nailed in the right wrist last night. Stayed in the game. The plunking was after the two homers and ground rule double

    • gary3411

       Jesus…literally, if you’re there…

      I’ll be relieved with anything but an ACL tear.

    • cubs1967

      all 2nd hand info………..he did walk off; which means nothing as drose did the same thing; with help in the bulls playoff game, but rizzo walked off w/o any help.

  • CubsForever

    Rudy should have been fired a long time ago…….Theo had it with him.

    • Tony_Hall

      I think we can all relate to that feeling…

  • daverj

    Read the Dodgers are interested in Demp … probably too much to ask for, but I’d love to get Eovaldi for Demp.  Even if it’s not Eovaldi, the Dodgers has a handful of good young arms in the minors.  On the other hand, I’d rather pass than make another Maddux for Izturis or Lilly for DeWitt type deal.

    • Chadaudio

      No kidding.  How about we trade them DeWitt AND Demp for Eovaldi :)

    • John_CC

       Yeah, Hendry made a couple real doozies with the Dodgers, didn’t he?  Cheryl mentioned somewhere that they might be interested in LaHair as well.  That package would make a lot of sense since Loney has never materialized into the hitter they hoped at 1B.

      • Chadaudio

        Assuming it’s a decent return… that sounds like a good idea to me.

  • Baron_S

    People used to praise this guy like crazy when he was with the Rangers — but they seem to be hitting just FINE and even better the last couple of years without him.

    • John_CC

       Yeah. The personnel matters too.  When Rudy had decent Cubs hitters to work on, they wouldn’t listen to him, i.e. Lee and Aramis. 

      Texas is a hitters heaven too, so all the top 10 OPS finishes etc should be qualified.  I wonder if there is an xOPS metric that adjusts to neutralize home park trends like Texas and Colorado?

      • Jason Penrod

        It’s called OPS+

  • Dorasaga

    Just read Chadaudio’s SunTime article above. It’s possible that Rudy’s success in Texas has more to do with the club scouting and signing power bats to fit the ballpark, and they by chance fit his aggressive style. After all, facing power, opposing teams pitch around. And when pitchers couldn’t walk someone, or lost command, there came the big bat.

    After Rudy left offseason 2009, Texas was low in OPS+ in 2010, but a hit-leader again the following years until now.

    Here are the hitting performance of Rudy’s Texas during his tenure (15 years); all based on OPS+, which compares to the league (American):

    2009 sadly below average
    2007-’08 much above average
    ’05-’06 slight above average
    ’03-’04 below average
    ’02 above avg.
    ’01 way above avg.
    ’00 exactly just average (100 OPS+)
    1998-’99 above average
    ’97 below avg.
    ’96 above avg.

    Overall, he had more above average seasons with Texas. As you can tell, it’s quite random as well, without a trend up or downward. Perhaps a hitting coach has his limit to turn around Major league hitters.

  • Neil

    Reports from Theo Epstein are that Anthony Rizzo is fine. No injuries but will be checked out further to make sure he is okay

    Cubs have also agreed to terms with several draft picks, waiting on physicals before making official.

    • Chadaudio

      Yes!!! More good news from Neil… thanks!

  • SuzyS

    Neil and Tom U….
    I was thinking about Soler and any other young international player coming to the U.S. with a totally different culture…and the adjustments they have to make just to acclimate themselves and be comfortable…let alone play baseball and hone their skills.

    I remember seeing a piece on Cincy…and the special preparations they made for Chapman when they signed him.

    It would be nice if we could do a piece…maybe with Fleita on what the Cubs do or plan to do to acclimate and mentor their young international signings.

  • Bryan

    Hey Tony…couldn’t help notice that two days in a row now that you’ve taken a direct shot at CubsForever.  I guess it’s ok when you want to be a smart-ass to other CCO posters.

    • Tony_Hall

      Maybe I should create multiple screen names so that I can try to hide behind one…

      I don’t consider him a CCO poster in good standing. He is on at least his 3rd screen name and Neil has reprimanded him many times.

  • SirGladiator

    This is excellent news.  All we have to do is look to our arch-rivals in St Louis to see how a good hitting coach can take minor league nobodies and turn them into big league Superstars.  Here in Chicago, our minor league Superstars turn into big league nobodies.  We can’t afford to have that happen again with LaHair, Campana, Mather, Rizzo, Soler, Almora, etc. we need a hitting coach who can bring out their full potential, the way Big Mac does in St Louis.  Jaramillo clearly wasn’t capable of doing that.  Hopefully our new guy will be just the ticket!