In a move that was predicted by many, the Chicago Cubs have let go of their hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo. While they remain arguably the worst offense and worst team in baseball, moves like these will tend to happen. Stepping into the interim role will be 35-year-old James Rowson, the Cubs minor league hitting coordinator, according to Doug Padilla of ESPN.com.
The tenure of Jaramillo shed a bit of light onto the whole concept of a "high profile" hitting coach. When it comes down to it, there was absolutely zero evidence of any impact over his time on the north side. It's not a personal problem with Rudy; it's more so a statement about the place of hitting coaches in the Major Leagues. These "gurus" offer advice and corrections to swinging mechanics, but to the majority of those in the pros, there is little effect to be had.
Showing hard evidence of the positives or negatives of a hitting coach is even more difficult to prove. Fans of the sport know that when hard times come to a franchise, the secondary coaching staff is always the first to go. It's a symbolic gesture more than anything, and that's something more people need to acknowledge.
Jaramillo's success in Texas with a stacked offense cannot be given to him; The same can be said of the complete failure in Chicago. There was a ridiculously high level of talent in Texas, with the polar opposite being true for the Cubs. The players played as most expected, and whether or not Rudy offered advice and pointers in all likelihood didn't change the game in any tangible way.
In 2008, the Cubs had the best offense in the Majors, receiving career years from numerous players on the roster. Gerald Perry headed the offensive bench staff, and apparently it was all going well. They were near the top of the league in power and patience, while everyone seemed to hit with runners on base. By 2009, Perry was fired due to lack of offensive production. Funny how fast the pendulum swings, but does it simply mean the job itself relies entirely on things out of the given coach's hands?
Their role can be blown out of proportion, and while it's not a meaningless one, it's one that cannot be assigned noticeable value to creating a winning atmosphere.
Many attributed the success of Marlon Byrd in Texas to Jaramillo, but things like that can be much more symbolic than reality would dictate. Giving any real weight to such things is impossible, and paying for these types of tales can be detrimental to a team.
If there is a lesson to be learned, it is that giving a hitting coach more money than any other in the game is a poor decision. It's a problem that the new staff in charge of this team saw fit to change this quickly.
How long the newly appointed leaders will be fixing the mistakes of the prior ones will be the tale of how long this rebuilding process takes. Overall, this is yet another step in the right direction.
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