I am thrilled with the prospect of having Carlos Marmol as the Cubs’ closer for the entire 2010 MLB schedule. Marmol was a rock in save situations at the end of the 2009 season – racking up 11 straight saves (in saves situations) from August 23rd on. Marmol did have 3 hiccups in non-save situations, suffering 2 losses and giving up 5 ER on 5 hits and 5 walks in the process. But if you ignore those situations, Marmol was as reliable as it gets for a closer. Barring any off-season setbacks, Marmol should be good to go to shoulder the load for the Cubs in 2010.
Esmailin Caridad pitched very well for the Cubs at the end of the season, but his experience is a factor (he is only 26 years old). In 14 appearances, Caridad went 1-0 with a 1.40 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 17 strikeouts and just 3 walks. John Grabow also pitched well – 30 appearances, 3.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 16 strikeouts and 12 walks. Grabow is also left-handed, but he is a free agent and the Cubs and GM Jim Hendry still have a little work to do in order to sign him. The Cubs also have Angel Guzman, Aaron Heilman, Justin Berg, John Gaub, David Patton, Jeff Samardzija and Jeff Stevens.
Spring Training 2010 will give each of these players a chance to prove their worth as a reliable and dependable reliever out of the pen. Manager Lou Pinella and his staff will have to be at the top of their game to make sure they select the right combination of players that gives the Cubs the best chance to be successful in 2010.