The Chicago Cubs just announced that they have fired hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo. They have named James Rowson, their minor league hitting coordinator, as the interim major league hitting coach.
The Cubs hired Jaramillo away from the Texas Rangers following the 2009 season. He was given a three-year, $2.42 million contract which seemed kind of nuts for a hitting coach. Part of the appeal at the time was that he had just been with new free agent-signee Milton Bradley in Texas and it was thought that following him up to Chicago was a good idea. Hey, who knew?
Not that Jaramillo was purely a Milton Bradley Whisperer. He was well-respected as a hitting instructor for years, and it was felt that he’d be a good fit with the Cubs. With an entirely new management team in place, however, and with his contract nearing its end, it seems likely that the Cubs just want to have someone in place who can work with the rebuilding program.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not expected to retain his position with the club beyond the 2018 season, according to multiple reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nothing appears to be finalized just yet, however, and the Orioles have yet to address rumors of Showalter’s impending departure or news of a possible contract extension for general manager Dan Duquette.
Even so, it’s been a year of near-unprecedented disaster for the 62-year-old skipper, who helped lead the team to a 44-108 record prior to the outcome of Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. With the Orioles’ 108th loss — a 4-6 heartbreaker against the Blue Jays on Tuesday — they tied the 1937 St. Louis Browns for the second-most losses in a single season, eclipsed only by the 43-111 record of the 1939 Browns. As they have just 10 games remaining in the regular season, this year’s team has no chance of climbing out of last place in the AL East and may well finish with the worst record in the AL to boot.
While the Orioles’ missteps don’t bode well for Showalter’s future in Baltimore, he’s brought far more good than harm to the organization over the last eight and a half years. He assumed the managerial position from interim manager Juan Samuel in the middle of the team’s 2010 season and guided the club to five winning seasons and three postseason appearances in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Entering the 2018 season, his record sits at 666 wins and 677 losses, the winningest mark by any of the team’s skippers since Earl Weaver wrapped his 17-season run with the team in 1986. Whether the Orioles believe Showalter is capable of recovering from two consecutive losing seasons and returning the team to their former days of glory (and the occasional division title) remains to be seen, of course, though there’s plenty to recommend him as they prepare to advance a full-scale rebuild over the offseason.