Kap's Corner

The Cubs Are Closing in on Rudy Jaramillo

Ask most major league baseball executives who the best hitting coach in the game is and most will tell you the name of Rudy Jaramillo [ha-dah-MEE-yoh], who for the last 15 years has been the hitting coach for the Texas Rangers. Jaramillo turned down a one year contract from the Rangers last week, and he's in hot demand among the rest of baseball because he is highly successful in helping his hitters make dramatic improvement.

So if he is so good, you are probably wondering how Texas could let him get away. Here is the latest on the situation, and after you read it you will understand why he is looking to test free agency and to sign a contract with some solid job security. 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.

More Cubs Notes....

The Arizona Fall League has begun, and in talking with several scouts and media types who are there watching the games, the two most impressive hitters so far have been Josh Vitters and Starlin Castro of the Cubs. Vitters timetable for reaching the big leagues could be as
Starlin Castro.jpg

Shortstop Starlin Castro is one of the brightest stars in the Cubs improving farm system.

quick as next September and he will be the Cubs starting third baseman should Aramis Ramirez exercise the opt out clause in his contract after the 2010 season. Castro is just 19 years of age and while he is young for the level he is playing at he could be in the Cubs Opening Day lineup as soon as 2011.




Recommended

[?]

Recent Posts

Subscribe

Leave a comment

37 Comments

Cubbieblue10 said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

Vitters hitting .625 and Castro near .400 with 3 RBIs in that first game...Cubs farm system is no longer a laughing matter Kapper...Feels good!

Aisle424 said:

user-pic

Soooo... "The Rangers want to see improvement in on-base percentage, in two-strike approaches and in pitch recognition" so they are making a change.

The Cubs need to improve their on-base percentage, two-strike approaches and pitch recognition so they are going to hire Jaramillo.

Makes perfect sense.

David Kaplan said:

user-pic

Jaramillo is considered the best hitting coach in baseball. If the Rangers didn't like him why did they offer him a contract for next season and why has he been there for 15 seasons?

Aisle424 said:

user-pic

Steroids made a lot of hitting coaches look good. Plus, they play in a ballpark the size of my closet. He may be better than what we had, but when Mark DeRosa and Michael Young are your two best non-steroid projects, I think the reputation is overblown.

The comments from Rangers fans in that story leave me with the impression that not monay folks are really all that upset with him leaving.

But, if you really liked the "See fastball, hit fastball" approach of the Dusty years, this is a great move. The Cubs half of the innings will go quicker, that's for sure.

Aisle424 said:

user-pic

I threw out the steroids comment without anything to back it up, but lest you think I am just a bitter contrarian, I looked up the Rangers rankings in the AL during Jaramillo's tenure.

Top 5 rankings in BA, OBP, SLG, OPS
1995-2002: 22 (6 BA, 4 OBP, 6 SLG, 6 OPS)
2003-2009: 11 (1 BA, 1 OBP, 5 SLG, 4 OPS)

The top 5 finish in BA and OBP came in 2008 when Josh Hamilton was out of his head. With Hamilton returning to earth in 2009, the offense sagged back to an offense that didn't do anything but hit homeruns.

I find the clear disparity in performance between the steroid era years and the testing years to be highly coincidental, and I find nothing to support that Jaramillo is the "best in the business."

backslap said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

Kap: To paraphrase D. Lee "hitting coaches are the most overrated postions in baseball." So then Jaramillo is the tallest midget then if he is considered the best. BTW how many WS have the Rangers won in the last 15 years exactly (zero)? How many playoff appearances? (one) Oh yea we are on our way with this move...typical Cubs and Jim Hendry move they will overpay for someone with a big name that will probably have little impact. Don't forget one year ago the Cubs lead all of baseball in hitting with Gerald Perry at the helm then he gets stupid in 4 months and gets fired. We need better players and healthy players, period.

David Kaplan said:

user-pic

Great point CB10. Finally we are starting to see some position players close to the big leagues in our system.

backslap said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

"I hate to say it, but a hitting coach is overrated," Lee said. "It's more of a mental thing. Gerald was a great guy. he always had positive things to say- and same with Von. They're always in your corner. But the bottom line is the best hitting coach is yourself. No one knows your swing like yourself. None of the blame should go to either of those two guys and a new coach is not going to provide some magic solution. We just struggled as a whole all year." Yea go ahead and spend a ton of dough on a hitting coach, I'd rather they trade for the Phillies lineup...on second thought Kap lets just hire away their hitting coach he has to be the "best in the business!!"

Cubbieblue10 said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

thanks daaawggggg.....
-bdawger

IrishYeti said:

user-pic

Jaramillo? Wake me up when they make a significant move.

chuckwh said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

From some of the stuff I've been reading Hak-Ju Lee is an even better SS prospect than Castro. Lee hits for power, Castro doesn't. And reading about the AZ games on the Internet, CF Brandon Guyer seems to get about 3 or 4 hits a game, but I know nothing about the guy or how old he is. I'm all for the Cubs getting Jaramillo, if for no other reason they can stop making excuses about the hitting and just get better players if Soriano and company don't kick it up a notch next year.

Cubbieblue10 said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

Hey Chuck- It is possible that Lee is a better prospect than Castro. However, he does not hit for power and really never projects to, but hes still only 18, and has plenty of filling out to do. Hes very gifted defensively as well which might make him more of a natural SS than Castro. Both are legit prospects for sure though.

As far as Guyer goes, he's probably third on the list of outfielders in the Cubs system, which outfield might be their weakest area. Guyer began the year #1 in that department, but mightily struggled making the jump from Low-A to AA. But after dropping back down to High-A, he really picked it up. Still though, he ranks behind 2009 first rounder Brett Jackson who scouts love, and Kyler Burke who emerged as a Cubs top 10 to 12 prospect with an MVP caliber season in the Midwest League in Peoria. Hopefully help is on the way!

JobbaJibba said:

user-pic

Yea...that was the Cubs problem in 2009. Not the "talent" on the field...it was the hitting coach....*sigh*

David Kaplan said:

user-pic

Hey, Jobba.... I love the photo. Did I tell you I made it the wallpaper on my screen?

Max Power said:

user-pic

I really hope this isn't what passes a s big news this offseason.

Or they could just order this and save a few bucks.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Rudy-Jaramillos-5-Simple-Steps-Hitting-Training-DVD_W0QQitemZ190330736914QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item2c50989112

Aisle424 said:

user-pic

Spoiler:

Step 1 - Buy steroids.
Step 2 - Buy syringes.
Step 3 - Fill syringes with steroids.
Step 4 - Inject steroids with syringes.
Step 5 - Repeat as necessary.

fan said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

Aisle 424, no wonder you sit so far up in the upper deck, too stupid to be able to afford better seats.
Just a plain stupid post on your part.

Aisle424 said:

user-pic

Fan, constructive criticism is always nice. Thank you for putting me in my place.

David Kaplan said:

user-pic

Well said Fan! Even though we don't always agree you do bring life to the party!

TracyT said:

user-pic

I used to rave and get excited about all the Cubs prospects that were supposed to be good-to-great players, that would propel the team to new heights. We know the list: Corey Patterson, Bobby Hill, Ryan Harvey, Brian Dopirak, Hee Seop Choi, David Kelton, Bobby Brownlie, Felix Pie, on and on. I used to tear the cover off the new Baseball America Prospect book every late-winter and dream. But not anymore.

What seems to be the problem? Do the Cubs draft bad players who quickly become over-hyped? Do the prospects have great raw talent who never reach their potential because the Cubs farm system cannot develop that talent? Do they get injured and never return to form? Probably all the above.

This is a common feature for all major league teams. Problem is, most major league teams have at least one superstar that is home grown (My God, look at the Phillies. And you wonder why they'll be in two straight World Series). Cubs do not (closest they have is Zambrano, and he is a total head case).

Kids, don't get too excited about your Starlin Castro's and Josh Vitter's until you actually see them reach the majors and have some level of success.

Kap, stop with the Kool-Aid.

TracyT said:

user-pic

Another note: I don't mind the Jaramillo signing, if it happens. Not necessarily for next year though but for the next several years after that when the kids supposedly arrive.

When you have veteran guys making the equivalent of the GNP of some small nations, it don't matter who you bring in: THEY ARE NOT GOING TO LISTEN TO HIM!!

Huny said:

user-pic

Kap..I sympathize with you. Do you have to put up with this ignorance on a daily basis?
Sure Derek Lee is going to say that a hitting instructor is over rated. He hits .320 and drives in 80 to 100 RBI's a year!. But I wonder if you ask a struggling Soto or Fontenot how valuable a hitting instructor is if you would get the same response. Look, I played professional baseball for 8 years and played 4 years at the AAA level in the St.Louis organization, and I will tell you that hitting instructors in that organization are highly respected and listened to coaches. Maybe that is the reason the Cardinals traditionally have the strongest prospects in the Minor leagues!
Jaramillo has a resume a mile long!! They interviewed him yesterday on "Homeplate" XM 175 for those of you who have xm radio, and they listed off the silver sluggers, the batting champions, the Home Run champions etc that his guy produced. So before you make a final decision on what the Cubs need or don't need, think about WHY these other organizations (like the Cardinals) have such great minor league organizations. Yes they draft well, that's a given, but they also have top notch instructors to teach them the right way to play before they ever reach the big leagues!!Another example? the Minnesota Twins!

David Kaplan said:

user-pic

Huny: Great point in the value of a hitting coach. Some of the folks who comment here are always saying how poor the Cubs are at teaching fundamentals and getting productivity from their players. Yet, when the Cubs try to sign the acknowledged best guy in the industry those same "knowledgeable fans" have to find a way to rip it. Completely ridiculous. Thanks for taking the time to post!

Max Power said:

user-pic

I like how you put the quotation marks around knowledgeable fans. That was clever. Be sure you do the same when refering to baseball "experts" and "our baseball insider" when that "expert" is a guy who uses rbi to judge a hitter and, get this, wins to judge a pitcher.
And don't forget the quotation marks when refering to your "insider" when he makes up trade rumors just so he can get the attention of the team and fans that he quit on, twice.
We'll see if St. Rudy can produce an offense close to as potent as the one Gerald Perry did in'08 (Obviously it's the hitting coach, not the players who was responsible for the best offense in the league that season) with pretty much the exact same players. Seeing how he seems to shun pitch recognition and isn't bringing the Ballpark at Arlington with him, it's highly doubtful he can.

JobbaJibba said:

user-pic

Is Jamarillo going to be the hitting coach at every level of the organization? No? Darn...

I'm not saying Jamarillo won't help, but he's just a hitting coach. Soto was great under Perry...and sucked under Perry. I'm pretty sure that Perry was preaching the same things from 2008 to 2009.

backslap said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

Kap the only thing ridiculous is getting all giddy about this. One year ago this team lead the NL in runs scored, had a high OBP, lead in home runs, etc. It goes all to heck in one year and we fire the hitting coach and then another. Its the players! This guy may be acknowledged as the "best in the business" but Gerald Perry is considered one of the "best in the business" and so is Sweet Lou...so much that helped. The team needs better personal that fit, overpaying for the "best in the business" hitting coach creates another yawn. Out of the 8 everday players we wheeled out there last year 6 came from other organizations Talk about how poor the Cubs fundamentals are well how about hiring the "best in the business" minor league instructors since we do not seem to produce much good home grown talent.

Huny said:

user-pic

Kap...Thanks for the great posts. I find out interesting insights from you before it ever is mentioned in the press. Keep up the good work! Frank Hunsaker Cards 76-82!

Huny said:

user-pic

Oh...One last thing..I heard your comments on Chicago Tribune live about Huet. I couldn't agree with you more!!! He would be the ONLY reason the Hawks don't bring a Stanley Cup to Chicago this year!!!

*dan bradley said:

user-pic

Great post by Huny. And here are a couple of things to answer all the naysayers..

1) Every single coach - hitting coach, pitching coach (yep), and manager - in baseball for the past 20 years can be said to have been overblown and/or overhyped due to steroids.

2) Nobody's saying a hitting coach is a cure-all, but these guys DO get paid for a reason. When you have a team where Soriano's lost his eye and Soto his swing, maybe it's time to bring in a fresh voice they'll listen to. And why NOT a guy everybody says is "the best"? It's up to the players to play after that.

And yes, regardless of the money he is paid, Soriano is still A) human and B) not stupid. Therefore he is certainly embarrassed about the season he just had.

TracyT said:

user-pic

I repeat: Jaramillo would be a great addition for the youngsters making their way on the club, and looking for their first big contract.

But don't tell me you're gonna get a guy like Sori or Ramirez to change their hitting approach. These guys will always swing at sliders low and away or expand their zone by about two feet. It ain't gonna happen.

No hitting coach can turn a free-swinging, undisciplined hitter into something that's not attainable.

Huny said:

user-pic

Tracy T: Stop thinking for a second about how much these guys make and your pre concieved notion of how this effects their approach. Remember, these guys only get paid for as long as they produce and I don't care how much you make, if you don't produce, sooner or later your going to be bagging groceries at the local super store. I tell you from experience, that these guys work on their trade everyday. and you don't believe for one minute that Soriano got to the big leagues because one day he discovered he had the ability to play and just showed up! No, like most of us who made it..he started at a young age and when he wasn't playing with a group of friends or in an organized league.. He was probably hitting stones with a stick or throwing a ball against the wall for countless hours. You don't become a major leaguer without work and I don't believe that any major league player wants to be embarrased, so yes I believe he can change and he will change or you will see him brown bagging at Jewel food store!

chicago180 said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

Kap, Josh Vitters is a good prospect but he struggled in high-A ball this year. He's only 20 and shouldn't be rushed through the system. He won't be ready for 2010.

*dan bradley said:

user-pic

You're probably right about Sori, TracyT.. wishful thinking on my part. Maybe Soto. (As far as Rami goes, I wouldn't tinker with him much. He's one of the better two-strike hitters around.)

TracyT said:

user-pic

Huny, I never doubt that Soriano works very hard to prepare for games. And I believe his heart is there. No, he doesn't just "show up" to games, and lounges around until game time. That's nonsense.

But he is what he is and you're not going to change him in any significant way after ten+ years as a big-leaguer. The chances of obtaining a hitting coach who'll make Soriano into a .400 on-base machine when his career average is .330 is simply nil.

With that said, however, I think a great hitting coach can spot mechanical flaws better and correct the mistake faster. If a veteran slumps, he'd get them out of it quickly, back to their level of success. And possibly keep guys from getting into slumps in the first place.

What I'm looking forward to is the young guys like Vitters coming up and being molded by Jaramillo.

JF said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

According to the other major league executives, Jaramillo is the best in the game and they all expect the Cubs to hire him. Sniff, sniff. So, that must mean the other executives can't afford Jaramillo, or they just want the Cubs to have the best hitting coach, or they just want Rudy to have job security and the Cubs will overpay him for multiple years to provide that. The conclusion being that this is all real special.

I agree though. With the Perry and Von Joshua casualties, and with Lou going into the last year of his contract just like Washington is, the Cubs will probably have to overpay for multiple years to get an experienced hitting coach on-board for 2010. I wonder what the Rangers plan to do? That would be funny if they end-up hiring Gerald Perry.

joeydafish said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

The Cubs are closing in on the "top free agent HITTING COACH"??
What? Did Hendry run out of positions to throw money at? I'm not knocking Jaramillo and he could very well help but it sounds all too familiar...I remember when Hendry was closing in on DUSTY BAKER, SORIANO, PINELLA, BRADLEY (YIKES)...ETC, ETC, ETC.
This could be just another way of Hendry catching lightning in a bottle instead of spending and developing WISELY.

Leave a Comment?

Some HTML is permitted: a, strong, em

What your comment will look like:

said:

what will you say?

Most Active Pages Right Now

ChicagoNow.com on Facebook