Cubs Hitting Coach Jaramillo Gets 3/2.4
Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!
It looks like Jim Hendry accomplished the first splash of the offseason. Rudy Jaramillo is the new Cubs hitting coach. The highly respected Jaramillo has signed a 3 year, $2.42 million deal (according to a David Kaplan tweet and a Bruce Levine/ESPN post) to spin his 5 point hitting magic on Cub hitters both young and old ($800K a year, but we all know you-know-who likes to write back loaded contracts). Bruce Levine reports that Jaramillo will fly to Chicago Wednesday to meet with Cubs officials and after he officially signs his new contract, will attend a mid-afternoon press conference. Jaramillo has spent the last 15 seasons with the Texas Rangers and sports the resume of helping the likes of Mark DeRosa, Michael Young, Lee Stevens and early in their careers, Sammy Sosa and Jeff Bagwell. He won the Baseball America's Major League Coach of the Year in 2005.
The Cubs hope he can fix whatever was broken last year with Alfonso Soriano who still has 5 years left on his contract. Soriano in his 2 years with the Rangers loved working with Jaramillo. Soriano said, ‘We had very good communication because he speaks Spanish. He’s very good and smart. He works very hard, too.’’
Although the media doesn't want to hear or write about it, he's even left his magic touch on Milton Bradley who parlayed the 2008 season into "feeling like $30 million bucks". It was one of Bradley's best hitting seasons and propelled him to his first All-Star game. I'm not sure the Jaramillo signing will restore any of the burnt bridges Bradley left in his wake but who knows, especially if Hendry can't pull a Todd Hundley for Karros and Grudz trade out of his tush once again.
Jaramillo has broken his batting instruction into 5 tenets to hitting and he explains it in detail in this video.
• Timing the arm and the ball.
• Separation of hands and front foot.
• Staying square to the plate.
• Weight shift.
Hopefully the Cubs newest coach can bring back our 2008 rookie of the year's swing, working with Geo Soto and putting special emphasis on Weight Shift. I'll hope Jim Hendry will include a copy of the Rosetta Stone software, Japanese edition, so we won't see so much SPIN-A-RAMA next season. Remember that after the season, when the Cubs didn't re-hire Von Joshua, Derrek Lee said neither Perry not Joshua deserved any blame. "I hate to say it, but a hitting coach is overrated,"
So expecting tangible evidence that Jaramillo will make a difference in 2010 is a lot of magic to expect out of just a hitting coach. Still, if he does to hitters what Cardinal's pitching coach Dave Duncan does to pitchers, next summer just might be fun once again at Wrigley.