Tag: Carlos Marmol

Ranking the Best Remaining Players the Marlins Could Invite to Spring Training

We’re less than a month away from when pitchers and catchers report to spring training, so it’s time to assess what the Miami Marlins need and who is still out there to be had.

But before we begin, let’s check the Marlins shopping list and see if there’s anything the Marlins forgot to buy.

An offensively skilled catcher? Check. The Marlins signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year contract worth $21 million. 

A power-hitting first baseman? Check. The Marlins signed Garrett Jones to a two-year deal worth $7.75 million.

An upgrade at second base? Check. The Marlins signed Rafael Furcal to a one-year agreement worth $3 million. Furcal can also earn an additional $1.5 million in performance bonuses, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Fixing the black hole known as third base? Check. The Marlins signed Casey McGehee to a one-year pact worth $1.1 million. McGehee can also earn an extra $400,000 in performance bonuses. 

About the only item still on the Marlins shopping cart is a veteran reliever, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, especially after the Marlins nontendered Ryan Webb, who signed with the Baltimore Orioles, while Chad Qualls inked a deal with the Houston Astros

Looking back at last season, the Marlins signed Qualls and Jon Rauch and they had a few commonalities. For starters, both guys signed a one-year pactQualls on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training while Rauch joined the Marlins on a $1 million contract. The other commonality they had was Qualls and Rauch had experience in high-leverage situationsQualls has 51 career saves while Rauch had 62—which might come in handy as Steve Cishek was penciled in as the team’s full-time closer. 

Now, the Marlins are probably looking to add a reliever or two in the same mold as Qualls and Rauch even though Rauch was designated for assignment six weeks into the 2013 season while Qualls (5-2 record, 2.61 ERA in 62 innings) exceeded expectations. 

Without further ado, in descending order, here are the best remaining available free agent relievers the Marlins could target for an invitation to spring training or sign to a major league contract.

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Carlos Marmol and the 5 Biggest Team Distractions in MLB

Carlos Marmol was a big distraction for the Chicago Cubs before being demoted Tuesday.

Despite the success he showed as the Cubs closer in 2010, Marmol started to show signs he couldn’t get the job done in 2011 when he had 10 blown saves.

The last two years have been much of the same, as fans were always on edge when he came into games.

Besides that, he was a distraction to his teammates:

Whether it was a distraction of him constantly blowing leads or the lack of confidence teammates had in him, Marmol wasn’t good for the clubhouse.

No matter what happened, Marmol finally became more of a distraction than the Cubs wanted to deal with and he was demoted.

But Marmol hasn’t been the only distraction in Major League Baseball this season.

Here’s a look at five other players who are distractions to their teams.

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Former Chicago Cubs Closer Carlos Marmol Designated for Assignment

Carlos Marmol has finally worn out his welcome with the Chicago Cubs. The organization announced on Twitter that the relief pitcher has been designated for assignment: 

UPDATE: Tuesday, June 25, at 5:21 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

MLB.com reporter Carrie Muskat offers some insight from Cubs GM Jed Hoyer:


—End of update—


At the time of the transaction, he had a 2-4 record with a 5.86 ERA and a career-high WHIP of 1.7.

According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, “The move means the Cubs have 10 days to trade, release or waive him. He’s expected to clear waivers, a 3-day process.”

The 30-year-old veteran is in the final year of his three-year extension that was signed prior to the 2011 season. Therefore, a club might take a chance on a half-season rental, though the Cubs should not expect much in return. 

Marmol has been on the major league roster since 2006. He came up as a starter, but quickly turned himself into one of the more dominant set-up men in all of baseball.

By 2010, he was the squad’s full-time closer with an impressive 38 saves and a 2.55 ERA. 

Unfortunately, he has not been able to replicate that success in recent years and has been one of the bigger disappointments on a struggling team. In 2011, he led the majors with 10 blown saves, and he has generally had problems closing out games over the past few years.

This season, Marmol lost his closing job in early April after allowing runs in each of his first three appearances.

Things didn’t get much better with the pressure off.

In June, the reliever built up an ERA of 12.15 thanks mostly to two terrible performances in the month. He allowed four runs in only one-third of an inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 1, then did the same thing against the New York Mets on June 16.

While he did manage to get a scoreless inning against the St. Louis Cardinals, it was too little, too late for the pitcher, and the Cubs decided to remove him from the major league roster.

In a corresponding move, Chicago will bring up outfielder Brian Bogusevic. The 29-year-old player batted .207 last season in 146 games with the Houston Astros. However, he can play all three outfield positions and should be able to provide the squad with some depth. 

It is unclear what the future holds for Marmol, but he certainly must improve before he is able to help any team.


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Fantasy Baseball 2013: Week 3’s Buy Low, Sell High Trade Advice

Last week, two of my three “Buy Low” picks, Carlos Gomez (10-for-18, HR, 3B in last week) and Homer Bailey (8 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 10 K in last start), came through while the third, Ike Davis, finally broke out on Friday with a two-homer game. One of my “Sell High” picks, Barry Zito (2.2 IP, 9 ER, 8 H), also made me look pretty smart in my first week of this feature.  

Just in case last week wasn’t a fluke, here’s some advice for next week  …


Sell High

J.P. Arencibia, C, Toronto Blue Jays 

His six homers and 11 runs batted in this month shouldn’t be much of a surprise. He had eight homers and 19 runs batted in last May and also hit six more long balls in July. 

The other months when he’s not red-hot, however, are when you need to be concerned as an J.P. Arencibia owner. In April, June, September and October of 2012, he combined to hit three homers with 13 walks and 72 strikeouts in 204 at-bats.

You have to figure that cold streak will return very soon, and it won’t be the last of the season. The question is whether it’s worth it to ride out another homer binge. The catching depth is too deep to wait out the streaky Arencibia, in my opinion. Sell now. 


Chris Johnson, 1B/3B, Atlanta Braves 

Before anyone realizes Chris Johnson will go back to a platoon at third base with Juan Francisco once Freddie Freeman returns from the disabled list early next week, see if someone wants to give up something of value to acquire him and his .412 batting average (21-for-51). 

The 28-year-old is a career .282 hitter, coming off of a season in which he set career highs in homers (15), runs batted in (76), doubles (28) and several other categories. He’s a pretty good major league hitter.

Unfortunately, though, he’ll see most of his playing time in Atlanta versus left-handed pitching. The problem is that he doesn’t hit lefties (career .702 OPS) as well as right-handers (.780 OPS).


Buy Low

Victor Martinez, DH, Detroit Tigers

Slowly but surely, Victor Martinez appears to be getting more comfortable at the plate. He is, after all, coming back after missing all of 2012 with a torn ACL

In case any Martinez owner in your league doesn’t realize that and is disappointed with his 11-for-56 start without a homer, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to convince them to make a trade. 

Now, in case you did need a reminder, the 34-year-old switch-hitter has a .304 batting average since 2004. During that span, he’s averaged 18 homers, 90 runs batted in and 34 doubles per season. He can flat-out hit. He’ll figure it out soon enough.


Carlos Marmol, RHP, Chicago Cubs 

This may sound familiar if you were paying attention to the Chicago Cubs last year. Remember when Carlos Marmol’s shaky performance had him demoted from the closer’s role. He moved into a lower-leverage role and pitched much better. The “closer-by-committee” isn’t terrible, but no one in the group is exactly striking fear into opponents or making as much money as Marmol, so they eventually give him the job back. 

In 2012, he was really good in his second stint as closer (1.52 ERA, 12-for-13 in save opportunities, 29.2 IP, 20 H, 17 BB, 39 K). He’ll get another chance in 2013 for the same reasons. 

Kyuji Fujikawa, once he returns from the disabled list, gives the team another solid option in the ninth inning, but the Cubs would much rather see Marmol build his value and then trade him to open the spot first.

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Justin and B.J. Upton Homer in 9th Inning to Lead Braves Past Cubs

It’s pretty clear that the Chicago Cubs have bullpen issues. For the third-straight outing, closer Carlos Marmol struggled in relief and the Cubbies lost a heartbreaker, 6-5, to the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

Despite leading 5-1 heading into the last two innings, the Cubs bullpen imploded to give this one away. The collapse culminated in home runs off the bats of B.J. and Justin Upton in the bottom of the ninth.

Facing Marmol to lead off the inning, B.J. launched a solo shot to tie the game before Justin’s long ball gave the Braves the walk-off victory two batters later. The game-winner was Justin’s second home run of the night and capped a three-hit, three-RBI performance for the younger Upton brother. 

It was the first time this season the brothers have gone deep in the same game, but considering both of their power, it’s likely that this will happen more than a few times as the season progresses.

For the Cubs, Marmol was not the only reliever at fault in this one. Japanese import Kyuji Fujikawa was just as bad in his one inning of work out of the bullpen, allowing three runs on four hits in the eighth inning.

Marmol and Fujikawa helped waste a strong outing from starter Carlos Villanueva, who lasted 6.2 innings and allowed only one run in his first start of the season.

Braves’ starter Julio Teheran was spared the loss despite allowing five runs and eight hits in five innings of work.


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Carlos Marmol Is the Obvious Choice for Chicago Cubs’ Closer

Carlos Marmol’s 2011 campaign was a disaster. His 2012 season was equally awful.

Why would the Cubs stick with Marmol as their closer?

Marmol has one year left on his three-year contract ($9.8 million) with the Cubs. While fans may want him gone now, his trade value is virtually nonexistent. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Marmol thought he was already traded to the Angels last year. He would have worked in the bullpen rather than as the closer with the Angels, however.

If the Cubs want Marmol to have trade value as a closer, they need him to perform in 2013. If it seemed he wouldn’t produce, then they wouldn’t trot him out there again. All signs point to a better season though.

Manager Dale Sveum said Marmol is “throwing the ball way better than last spring training.” He also suggested that Marmol has developed better control with his fastball (via ESPN).

The Cubs need to hope so because Marmol’s 1.54 WHIP last year belies how awful his control was. Marmol’s great 2008 season was the only time his WHIP was under 1.10.

Sveum seems to have confidence Marmol will rebound. He isn’t playing Marmol because the Cubs lack an alternative.

Kyuji Fujikawa was brought to Chicago from Japan, where he had success as a closer for the Hanshin Tigers.

Fujikawa is only a few years older than Marmol, and he has the same overwhelming stuff. Their fastballs have similar velocity (around 94 MPH), and their career K/9 rates are similar (11.7 for Marmol, 12.4 for Fujikawa). The primary difference is in their off-speed repertoire and their fastball control. Fujikawa’s career WHIP is 0.86.

Shouldn’t that mean that Fujikawa is the obvious choice for closer?

The Cubs are in rebuilding mode, and they want to acquire the best prospects they can. If Marmol shows he can close early on, he becomes even more enticing trade bait.

Sveum could easily plug Fujikawa in after that, while easing him into American baseball with the setup role.

While Marmol blew a preposterous 10 saves in 2011, his 2007 and 2008 seasons showed his potential. If other teams see a renaissance they may be willing to deal a quality prospect for him at the deadline. Admittedly, his first 2013 spring training appearance was typical Marmol (1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 ER and 1 SO). It’s still early though.

Professional sports are a business, and Sveum knows that. He’s going with Marmol to build his trade value. It’s an obvious choice. The Cubs wouldn’t win the World Series this year with Marmol or Fujikawa or even a young Mariano Rivera. It’s irrelevant.

However, if Chicago keeps stockpiling prospects to combine with the young core in place, they could contend in years to come.


*All season & career stats came from Baseball-Reference.com

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Chicago Cubs Sign Kyuji Fujikawa; Are Carlos Marmol’s Days Numbered?

Ken Rosenthal tweeted earlier that the Chicago Cubs have agreed to terms with Kyuji Fujikawa.

It was previously thought that the Angels were the front-runners for acquiring the Japanese closer.

Fujikawa should fill in nicely as the Cubs‘ closer for the 2013 season. In six seasons spent across the Pacific, Fujikawa has accumulated a total of 202 saves and pitched to the tune of a minuscule 1.36 ERA. How that translates in the big leagues is yet to be seen, but it is very promising.

Theo Epstein has stated that if there were sound investments available, the Cubs would be not be afraid to spend money this offseason. To that end, he seems to be keeping his word. He has already made moves to improve the starting rotation, and now he has taken strides to improve the bullpen.

So, does the signing of Fujikawa mark the end of Carlos Marmol in a Cubs uniform?

Marmol has served as the Cubs’ closer the past few seasons, but it certainly seems like the Cubs are ready to move in another direction. Marmol‘s fate with the team was all but sealed once the team tried to include him in a deal to bring Dan Haren to Chicago.

Now his future is almost definitely with another team. It should be an interesting week coming up with Winter Meetings kicking off on Monday, as the team will surely be trying to move Marmol. He and Alfonso Soriano should be at the center of any trade talks for the Cubs next week.

With some of the moves we have already seen this offseason, the Cubs seem determined to improve on their 101-loss season in 2012. 

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MLB Trade Rumors: Chicago Cubs Trade Carlos Marmol for Dan Haren

**Follow-up**  The deal is dead. Haren is a free agent, Marmol is back on the team. Cubs fans, put our heads back in the sand, nothing to see here.




In the grand scheme of things trading a reliever, even an elite one, for a quality starting pitcher would strike most as a move worth making.

Starters are so infinitely more valuable than relievers, even more so in the payroll department.

Yet Carlos Marmol is no elite reliever, and hasn’t been for a handful of seasons now. While Dan Haren was far from stellar last season, the 32-year-old is a near-Ace caliber pitcher when he’s on. Now, he’s headed back to the National League and to the north side.

The Angels made this move for salary-relief, and without that in mind the deal is quite lop-sided. The Cubs were far from comfortable with Marmol as the full-time closer, yet they have now solved their top of the rotation pitcher vacancy.

Yet the Angels can be far from safe with Marmol as a reliever in high-stress situations. His 1.54 WHIP last year speaks to his rapidly-rising rates of putting on-base via the walk.

Haren’s 4.33 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 2011 are outliers more than something to be expected. His touchy back injury plagued him all last season, and now the Cubs front office have made another savvy buy-low move.

Haren’s career 3.66 ERA and 1.18 WHIP are the trend to be expected, especially returning to the National League. As recently as 2011 he was pitching like an Ace in the American league, imagine what he’ll do in the National league central.

The team will be paying him roughly 10 million in 2013, and while he could be worth it simply to the Cubs in the present, he could also bring back way more value in an eventual deadline deal.




If Haren is back to normal in 2013, he would be ultimate trade bait for the Cubs in much need of adding more elite prospect talent. If Matt Garza is also on his A-game the Cubs would be in position to add a unbelievable amount of young players to the farm system. 

Right now, the front office are putting the franchise into the exact position they want to be in. Adding a potential star for a reliever most fans would rather see on the curb. I’d be absolutely shocked to hear a single complaint from Cub-dom about this transaction. 

Hell, if the team adds another mid-level starter like Shaun Marcum or Anibal Sanchez this offseason they would have a surprisingly good rotation. Yet even if the team doesn’t contend like most expect, they are going to be the biggest sellers at the trade deadline, and would add more talent via trade than any other team in the Majors.

Right now, that’s exactly what the team is building towards.

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LA Angels and Chicago Cubs Trade Reportedly Falls Through

Update: Friday, Nov. 3 at 12:15 a.m. ET

The Angels-Cubs trade saga took a dramatic turn into the morning, as the Angels decided not to deal Haren and make him a free agent. MLB beat writer Alden Gonzalez tweets:

It seems the L.A. brass couldn’t find a deal of equal or lesser value for Haren’s services than Marmol. They decided to cut their losses and make Haren somebody else’s problem.

Boy, it’s going to be awkward for Marmol in Chicago.

—End of Update—


Update: Friday, Nov. 2 at 10:30 p.m. ET

All of a sudden, it appears the Chicago Cubs have nixed the trade that would have sent Carlos Marmol to the Los Angeles Angels and Dan Haren to Chicago, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com.

Rosenthal tweeted on Friday:


— End of Update —

The Los Angeles Angels have reportedly traded right-hander Dan Haren for Chicago Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

Heyman tweeted:

Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com added:


The trade comes as a bit of a surprise, but given Haren’s $15.5 million option for next season and his 12-13 record and 4.33 ERA last season, perhaps it isn’t that surprising after all.

Haren’s deal includes a $3.5 million buyout, but it obviously doesn’t matter too much for the Angels. 

Of the four Angels starters who had at least 30 starts last season, Haren tied with Ervin Santana for the fewest quality starts (15). While he did have a better second half of the season (6-5, 3.58 ERA), perhaps the damage had already been done.

This also makes it more likely that the Angels will give right-hander Zack Greinke what he wants this offseason. He’s arguably the top starter on the free-agent market.

Greinke posted a 15-5 record, a 3.48 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and 200 strikeouts in just over 212 innings this past season with the Angels and Milwaukee Brewers.

As for Marmol, the 30-year-old posted a 3.42 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 55.1 innings (61 appearances) last season with the Cubs. Given that the Angels ranked 12th out of 14 American League teams in bullpen ERA last season (3.97), it’s no wonder why they are adding a reliever to their roster.

As for the Cubs, they ranked 14th out of 16 National League teams in starters’ ERA last season (4.52), so this works for both sides.

The Cubs went 61-101 last season, while the Angels finished with a 89-73 record, disappointing given preseason expectations.

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4 Pitchers Working on New Pitches

With pitchers and catcher reporting to camp, spring training is finally underway. Although some fans might not be excited until the regular season starts, the players are certainly ready to get back on the field and prepare for the upcoming season.

Spring training is often a time for hitters to find their swing, base stealers to condition their legs, and pitchers to find their touch. In addition, often pitchers will try out new pitches during spring training to see if they can add another weapon in their arsenal of pitches.

Here are four pitchers everyone expects big things from this season and who are also trying out new pitches this spring.

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