I haven’t heard a peep during this month’s trade rumors about Carlos Marmol–not that I expected to.
His 10 saves in 12 chances is no indication of his continuous struggle to close games efficiently.
For Marmol, it’s not a save until he walks the first two batters, allows an extra base hit and then escapes the jam with an unconventional double play.
That’s not the kind of gamble contending teams are looking for, especially considering Marmol is under contract through 2013 for a hefty $9.8M.
Aside from the big-money owed to Marmol, his season numbers are even less comforting. He’s walked 30 batters in 27.1 innings pitched. The opposition’s OBP against him is .396 and his walks per nine innings is a team worst 9.88.
It must be killing Dale Sveum internally to keep running Marmol out for the save. But the skipper’s been towing the company line doing all he can to increase his closer’s trade value, what little there is, while jeopardizing his team’s success in the win column.
The fact is, Marmol has seemingly run out of time to prove his worth to a contending team, let alone, the Cubs.
BUT THERE IS A BETTER OPTION
Moving Marmol out of the closer’s role is the best way to build his trade value, and for the Cubs to avoid the near-misses of his ninth inning theatrics.
The Cubs can’t sell Marmol as a closer, but maybe as a situational bullpen arm or setup man, which unquestionably, he was the best in the game before absorbing the closer’s role from Kevin Gregg in 2009.
Right-handed batters are hitting just .191 against Marmol. So if he can throw strikes, there’s a good bet Marmol could retired a big thumper or two on a good team.
The Cubs are not without options at closer, either. Manny Corpas, in particular, has quietly become a steady arm in Sveum’s bullpen.
Despite appearing in only 16-games, Corpas has a team leading 1.69 ERA, 13 of his outings have been scoreless, not to mention his closer experience with the 2007 NL Champion Colorado Rockies saving 19-games with a 2.08 ERA–a franchise record for a reliever.
With two weeks left before the trade deadline there’s still a small window for Marmol to draw enough interest to be considered trade material.
The looming trades of Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza are certain to provide Sveum ample opportunity to selectively find relief appearances for Marmol out of the bullpen.
Sticking with the current plan, however, is certain to keep Marmol around Chicago for another year and the Cubs on pace for a dreadful 100-loss season.