The Cubs are at least as bad as a lot of people expected them to be (although definitely worse than I expected), and they also are obviously at the beginning of a vast rebuilding project. Those two notions seemed like enough to keep the current coaching staff employed while the rest of the organization morphed around them, but one of them didn't make the cut.
Rudy Jaramillo, the holdover from the Jim Hendry regime, was fired this week. What seems like an obvious move for a team that hasn't been scoring many runs is more a move about timing and circumstance. It's true the Cubs team batting average and on-base percentage declined each of the three years Jaramillo was hitting coach, though by this year the widely-respected teacher was not exactly working with a bunch of honor students.
Jaramillo had been much more successful in Texas and Houston, and may still be more successful elsewhere, but if you believe the coverage of his firing, he's more about refining swings and less about improving plate patience. In any case, his approach sure seemed to work for the Rangers, and to me this seems a little bit of a missed opportunity for the Cubs.
The new hitting coach--though only on an interim basis for now--is James Rowson, who had been the Cubs' minor league hitting coordinator, and unlike Jaramillo, hasn't proven he can get a major league team to hit better. However, he looks like the right guy at the right time, if you consider that the Cubs are going to become a much younger team in the second half of this season and for the foreseeable future.
Some will say Jaramillo didn't do his job, but he had progressively less to work with the last three years. Others will say hitting coaches are always dead men walking, often the first head to roll when a team isn't winning. I guess that means we shouldn't get too comfortable with Rowson either.