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Carlos Marmol is on Cubs’ what-to-do? list

Carlos Marmol throws 9th inning  Wrigley  Field as Cubs play HoustAstros.  | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

Carlos Marmol throws in the 9th inning at Wrigley Field as the Cubs play the Houston Astros. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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TONIGHT

REDS AT CUBS

The facts: 7:05, CSN, 720-AM.

The pitchers: Mike Leake
(8-9, 4.69 ERA) vs. Chris Rusin (1-2, 5.06).

Updated: October 20, 2012 6:25AM



If you’re Theo Epstein, what do you do with Carlos Marmol?

That could be one of the biggest questions the Cubs’ front office faces in the offseason.

Marmol will make $9.8 million next year in the final year of his contract. That’s more than a quarter of the roughly $38 million committed to the four players already under contract for next year (Alfonso Soriano, Starlin Castro and David DeJesus).

Does a team one year into a radical rebuilding process need a $10 million closer? Obviously not.

Despite 19 consecutive saves and a 1.52 second-half ERA, what is Marmol’s trade value this winter? And how will that compare to next July, when the market for back-end bullpen guys tends to get hot? And what will Marmol’s numbers look like at that point next season?

‘‘I’m going to try to stay here in Chicago and do the best I can to stay here and see what happens,’’ Marmol said. ‘‘That’s what I’m doing right now.’’

Marmol has become a new pitcher for manager Dale Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio since an early-season demotion out of the closer role and strict orders since then to throw what the catcher calls. It has meant using his fastball more and has resulted in much better command.

The irony for Marmol is that the production that helps justify his contract and has contributed to some of the few wins the Cubs have cobbled together is also what has turned him into an intriguing offseason question.

‘‘I hope they give me a couple more years,’’ Marmol said.

Notes

Former Cubs skipper Dusty Baker managed his 3,000th career game Tuesday as his Reds opened a three-game series against the Cubs.

‘‘I’m just glad that out of the 3,000 games, we’ve won more than we’ve lost,’’ said Baker, whose team is on the verge of his fifth division title as a manager and sixth playoff appearance. ‘‘I’ve still got a few games left in me.’’

◆ The 3-hour, 37-minute rain delay Monday before a 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates created the latest starting time (10:42 p.m.) and latest ending time (1:28 a.m.) in Wrigley Field history.

For all that time at the park, the Cubs managed two hits.

◆ Sveum on Monday’s marathon: ‘‘I think both teams were sleepwalking out there. With a full crowd and everything out there [Tuesday], I think it’ll be a whole different feeling.’’



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