Rudy Jaramillo, all is forgiven.
During his unprecedented tenure as Rangers’ hitting coach, Jaramillo could be feisty. Arrogant. Even, at times, abrasive. But boy do we ever miss his results.
Especially now as the Rangers – for the sixth time in the last eight offseasons – are in search of a new hitting coach.
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With Dave Magadan leaving to pursue other baseball opportunities closer to his home in Florida, manager Jeff Banister and general manager Jon Daniels have another position to fill. Apparently it won’t be easy.
Jaramillo spent 15 seasons as the Rangers’ hitting coach and – perhaps fueled by a steroid here or there – established them as one of baseball’s biggest bopping lineups.
From ’96-’04 the Rangers ranked in the Top 5 in batting average, runs, slugging percentage and home runs. His hitters won 17 Silver Slugger Awards, four MVPs, three home run titles, two RBI championships and a batting title. Under his free-swinging guidance the Rangers topped 800 runs for 13 consecutive seasons, longest streak since the Ruth-led Yankees.
Jaramillo left the franchise in ’09 for Chicago, and some of his young sluggers have now leading the Cubs to the NLCS.
His long-ball era is long gone. And the Rangers need to find a delicate balance between Jaramillo’s aggressive approach and the philosophy of Banister.
The right fit would seem to be Michael Young, one of the most productive and popular all-time Rangers. He remains the organization’s career leader with 2,200 hits and in ’05 he won a batting title with a .331 average.
However, he passed on a chance to interview for the manager's position last fall and would likely do the same on this job. To me, that would make Triple-A hitting coach Justin Mashore the favorite.
Banister loves to promote from within, and it's Mashore who is credited with transforming Rougned Odor's approach and results after a June stint in the minors this season.
Magadan seemed to be a good fit between Jaramillo’s style and former instructor Clint Hurdle’s approach of “Productive Plate Appearances.” Under Magadan, Elvis Andrus and Mitch Moreland showed significant offensive improvement and this year Texas scored the third-most runs in the AL with 748.
Don’t know if Young, who this year served merely as a special instructor, would want the gig. But no doubt he’s the right man for the job.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.