Let me go back to what I’ve already said about Carlos Marmol–he’s not the closer many Cubs fans believe him to be.
Saturday’s blown save is Marmol’s 9th of the season–the most in the NL. He’s 31-for-40 in save opportunities, that’s 77%, which is well below where you want your closer to be.
Marmol’s stuff is clearly closer worthy, his slider unquestionably one of the best in all of baseball. But his continuous lack of command and overall inconsistency doesn’t suite him well for ninth inning duties.
With two years left on his deal and the Cubs paying him handsomely through 2013–$7M next year and $9.8M the following–that’s a lot of dough for a guy who’s gotten worse, not better, at shutting the door.
Perhaps Marmol’s 303 relief appearances since 2008, the most in the majors, is finally catching up to him. Over Marmol’s last 26 appearances his ERA is nearing 7.00.
If I were the Cubs new GM, I’d slide Marmol back into a setup role where he thrived and pursue a new closer via free agency for 2012. Potential candidates would include Heath Bell SD, Ryan Madson PHI and Jose Valverde DET.
If you’re going to pay big-time money for a closer, which the Cubs would need to do to land any of the aforementioned names or others, you might as well spend it on a guy who will get the job done on a more consistent basis.
Marmol’s had his shot at closing and blew it, literally. However, that doesn’t mean he’s no longer of value to the Cubs’ staff, he just appears to be in the wrong role.
My gut feeling is Marmol would not react kindly to what could be interpreted as a demotion. But moving Marmol out of the closer’s role should be just one of many new changes coming for the Cubs this offseason, that is, if they intend on competing for the division title next season.
The importance of a solid and reliable closer can not be undervalued. Otherwise, the Cubs must live with what they’ve got already: a good closer… some of the time.
How’s that working so far?