Cubs spend big on hitting coach

The Chicago Cubs' first big off-season move didn't come in the form of a trade, or free agent signing -- well, maybe not in the traditional sense anyway. The team on Wednesday hired Rudy Jaramillo as its new hitting coach, signing the long-time Texas Rangers coach of the same position to a three-year contract worth a reported $2.42 million.

"Rudy Jaramillo is widely regarded as the premiere hitting instructor in the game," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said in a statement.

"The addition of Rudy to our franchise is a strong statement from our new owners, the Ricketts family, and we thank them for allowing us to move quickly to fill this important role with the best in the business."

Jaramillo, 59, was hired to reestablish a Cubs offense that scored a league-high 855 runs in 2008, but finished near the bottom of the National League in runs this past season en route to a second-place finish and 83-78 record.

Chicago fired hitting coach Gerald Perry midway through the season and replaced him with Class AAA Iowa coach Von Joshua, who might return to a minor league coaching role next season.

Jaramillo's work with the Rangers produced 17 Silver Slugger Award winners, three home run champions and one American League batting champion in his 15 seasons there.

Already the highest paid hitting coach in the major leagues, Jaramillo made $650,000 with Texas and was offered one-year deal at a reduced rate of $545,000, according to published reports.

"We know we had some offensive deficiencies with some outstanding players, some of which Rudy has known in the past and worked with some of them, and we're just thrilled to have him," Hendry told reporters.

Two of those hitters – outfielders Alfonso Soriano and Milton Bradley – worked with Jaramillo during their stays in Texas. Soriano won a Silver Slugger award in 2004, and Bradley put up his best numbers under Jaramillo's tutelage in 2008, batting .321 with 22 home runs and 77 RBI.

Bradley parlayed that into a three-year, $30 million contract with Chicago last off-season, but was suspended for the season on September 20.

Under Jaramillo's tutelage, the Rangers hit .260 – 11th in the A.L. last season. They hit were second in the league in home runs.

Northsiders Report Top Stories