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.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.