Hitting coach Jaramillo suddenly sought-after free agent

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Rudy Jaramillo has spent the past 15 years as the hitting coach in Texas, but he’s now a free agent after leaving the Rangers earlier this week:

I’m not going to be in this position very often, and I don’t know what’s going to happen with the Rangers and the ownership situation. I didn’t want to retire and look back with regret that I didn’t take this opportunity. I’m not bitter or anything. This is my decision. I want to go out there and see where I stand in the game.

Jaramillo is reportedly looking for a multi-year contract rather than the one-year deal offered by the Rangers and he’s likely to get it, as multiple teams are already said to be in the mix for one of the most successful, longest-tenured hitting coaches in baseball history.
Before landing in Arlington he coached a Rookie of the Year named Jeff Bagwell in Houston and Jaramillo has presided over Rangers hitters winning four MVP awards, as Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Young, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark Teixeira, Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Rusty Greer, Hank Blalock, and most recently Nelson Cruz are just some of the players who’ve thrived under his tutelage.
In his 15 seasons on the job the Rangers have ranked among the league’s top three in scoring five times while ranking below average just twice. On the other hand the hitter-friendly ballpark in Texas has played a huge part in those numbers and even after 15 years of prolonged success the Rangers’ management still had some public criticisms about the team’s situational hitting this season, which perhaps made Jaramillo’s decision to leave a bit easier.
We’ve come a long way in terms of analyzing the impact of everything on the field, but evaluating the impact of coaches remains focused on reputations and guesswork. Jaramillo is generally considered one of the best hitting coaches around and he’s about to be paid like someone who’ll make an immediate impact on his new team’s offense, but as Leo Mazzone’s struggles in Baltimore showed even the best coaches can’t always transfer their success to new homes.

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.