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.
Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.
The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.
The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.