The news that Rudy Jaramillo is not coming back next season (all other coaches will return) is, of course, pretty big, and there's a lot of buzz out there about it...
Richard Durrett has a story up on ESPN that includes some telling comments from Nolan Ryan:
Said Ryan: "We were all disappointed in the number of strikeouts and the lack of walks. We felt like for us to move forward, that was an area we had to stress with the hitters, like maybe have a different approach on two strikes. [Rudy] was in agreement with that."
Rob Neyer thinks the impact of hitting gurus like Jaramillo may be overstated.
And I'm sure we'll have some columnists blasting this decision in the next couple of days, although again, with Ryan apparently on board and behind the decision to let Jaramillo walk, and expressing displeasure in the team's approach, it does make serve to give the Rangers some p.r. cover on this move. If Ryan weren't here, and Jon Daniels were the one seen as making this call, I can only imagine the firestorm that would ensue.
In any case...I think there's little question that, as a technician, Rudy Jaramillo is a terrific hitting coach. He's great at the mechanics of hitting, and the guys who jump out when I think of Rudy-type hitters -- Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez, but also Michael Young and Mark DeRosa -- are aggressive hitters with an aptitude for driving the ball to the opposite field.
But it has also been suggested that Rudy isn't as strong at the aspects of the game that the Rangers, the past couple of years in particular, have really struggled with...approach and pitch recognition. While Jaramillo deserves praise for his work with many hitters, you also see the regression of Hank Blalock, the struggles this season of Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton, the infatuation with Sammy Sosa and Andruw Jones, the fact that Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis had to go back to AAA to make necessary adjustments, and it drives home that Jaramillo isn't a miracle worker.
Given where this team is now, given how it is being build, given what the front office and manager appear to want from their hitters and want to see improvement in, this may be the best thing for both parties. I don't think it is Rudy Jaramillo's fault that the Rangers looked so awful offensively so often this past season...but I also don't know that, given the particular issues afflicting this team, that Rudy was necessarily the best choice out there to implement the improvements the team wants to see from its hitters.