The Chicago Cubs and Closer Carlos Marmol have agreed upon a 1-year, $2.125 million deal for the 2010 MLB schedule. The signing keeps intact GM Jim Hendry’s record of never going to arbitration with a player during his tenure as the club’s general manager. Marmol made $575,000 in 2009 and had asked for $2.5 million (the Cubs had countered with $1.75).
The move makes sense – why prolong it any longer? Marmol has been the closer-in-waiting after competing for the job in each of the 2008 and 2009 MLB seasons. He finally got promoted at the end of the 2009 campaign when it became clear that Kevin Gregg could not get the job done on a regular basis. After Marmol took over in August, he was 11-for11 in save opportunities the rest of the season and he led the team with 27 holds. Not bad.
The major concern with Marmol is his increasing walk statistics. In 59 appearances in 2007, Marmol had a 1.43 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP, with 96 strikeouts and just 35 walks in 69 1/3 innings. In 82 appearances in 2008, Marmol had a 2.68 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP, with 114 strikeouts and just 41 walks in 87 1/3 innings. Those were phenomenal numbers for a young player like Marmol. But everything changed in 2009 as Marmol struggled with his control right from the start. In 79 appearances in 2009, Marmol had a 3.41 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP, with 93 strikeouts and a whopping 65 walks in just 74 innings. The fact that Marmol has the talent to work his way out of 2 even 3-walk jams, helped keep his numbers respectable, but it has to be a little concerning for Manager Lou Pinella and the Cubs. When you have a 1-run lead heading into the 9th inning, the last thing you want to do is walk a batter.
Let’s hope the staff can work with Marmol this Spring to get him back on track and ready for being the Cubs closer during the 2010 MLB schedule.
On a side note, Ryan Theriot is the final Cubs aribitration-eligible player that Hendry has to deal with before Spring Training. Look for a deal to get hammered out very soon. Can’t wait to see Marmol and Theriot lighting it up at Wrigley Field in a couple of months.