Cubs close door on Carlos Marmol
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org June 25, 2013 11:46AM
Chicago Cubs closing pitcher Carlos Marmol reacts to the final out against the Houston Astros in a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, in Houston. The Cubs won 5-1. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Updated: June 25, 2013 7:57PM
The final chapter to the Carlos Marmol saga was written by the Cubs on Tuesday when they cut ties with the embattled former closer.
Nine days after the worst blown save of his career, Marmol was designated for assignment, a move that gives the Cubs 10 days to trade, release or waive him.
Once he clears waivers as expected, insiders expect the Cubs to eat most or all of what’s left of his $9.8 million salary and trade/dump him.
The Cubs have unsuccessfully tried to get something in return for Marmol in trade talks for much of the last two years.
Either way, he has pitched his final inning for the Cubs. Marmol, who’s in the final year of a three-year, $20-million deal, has the right to refuse an outright assignment to the minors without forfeiting his salary even if the team elected to try that route.
In a conversation late last week with the Sun-Times, Marmol stopped short of admitting he could use a fresh start after the fallout that came with what admittedly was his worst blown save, June 16 in New York.
The Cubs led 3-0 in that game and appeared on the verge of a series sweep, but in the span of five batters Marmol gave up four runs on a pair of mammoth home runs to marginal hitters.
“I think it’s best for everybody concerned,” Marmol’s agent, Paul Kinzer said Tuesday of the move. “Marmol can go somewhere and just start fresh.
“This isn’t the end of the road for Marmol,” he added.
Marmol lost his closer job for stretches each of the last three seasons, but after a strong second half last season opened 2013 as the Cubs’ closer. He lost the job for the final time less than one week into the season.
The June 16 save chance was his first since April 23.
In 31 appearances this season, Marmol was 2-4 with a 5.86 ERA and two saves in five chances.
The 2008 All-Star had 97 saves over the 3 ½ seasons as the Cubs’ primary closer through last season and in 2010 set what was then a major-league record with 15.99 strikeouts per nine innings.
Tuesday’s move creates a 40-man roster spot for outfielder Brian Bogusevic, who was called up from Iowa to restore the Cubs’ bench to full strength and put the bullpen back to its original seven-man strength.