Last year the Chicago Cubs finished the season with a horrendous team batting average of just .255. In October the Cubs attempted to improve this deficiency by signing former Texas Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo. Jaramillo was labeled in some headlines as "Hitting Guru" and "The Best Hitting Coach in the Game". At the time most fans didn't think that this would be the biggest offseason signing of the Chicago Cubs. At this point in the offseason, the Cubs only other notable addition is Marlon Byrd, and the Cubs are reportedly only still shopping for a platoon guy to go along with Fukodome, and a relief pitcher. Marlon Byrd is the definition of average, he will be a solid role player and should have some positive impact on the cubs in 2010, but not exactly an awe inspiring move by Jim Hendry.
The Cubs now pin their 2010 aspirations on rebounds from several key players, Geovany Soto, Alfonso Soriano, Mike Fontenot and Kosuke Fukodome living up to his salary this year, along with players staying healthy and on the field. The Cubs did improve by dumping dead weight Aaron Miles, Aaron Heilman, Milton Bradley's attitude, and letting Kevin Gregg go as a free agent.
What impact will Rudy Jaramillo have? Is he overated and his accolades are just a byproduct of a hitter friendly ballpark and the steroid era? Will he help the 2009 underachievers make the playoffs in 2010 and actually win a series in the postseason? As Cubs fans we can only hope. I do think Jaramillo will have a positive impact, but I don't think he is a miracle worker. I am most interested in the impact he will have on some of the younger guys, Soto, Fontenot, Blanco, Baker, Fuld, Hoffpauir and the guys he will work with in spring training Colvin, Castro, Vitters, Wellington Castillo, and Adduci. Jaramillo helped turnaround Mark Derosa's career after 2 seasons with a sub .700 Ops, Marlon Byrd, Gary Matthews jr.'s only successful years in his career are when Jaramillo was his hitting coach. Will he help turn a guy like Jeff Baker into the next Mark Derosa? Jaramillo does have a pretty impressive resume and we'll see what happens, hopefully he lives up to the hype. I would have been more optimistic if the cubs were able to add Dave Duncan(pitching coach for the St. Louis Cardinals), and Rudy Jaramillo. What do you think, will he help turn this team around?