6/25 Marmol “sideshow” is over

Carlos Marmol was designated for assignment on Tuesday after the team decided it had enough. GM Jed Hoyer said they have tried to deal Marmol since last August but no takers. The right-hander compiled a 1.52 ERA after the All-Star break in 2012, and opened this year as the closer but lost the job after struggling in the first week. On June 16, he blew a three-run lead in the ninth against the Mets that resulted in a 4-3 loss, made one more appearance last Thursday against the Cardinals, in which he was efficient, throwing 11 pitches (nine strikes), and that was it.

“He had a really good second half last year, and no one bid at the August deadline, and we didn’t have any offers other than someone else’s undesirable contract for ours,” Hoyer said. “There was a lot of talk about trade value and things like that, but that something we’d given up on long ago.

“He did provide value for us pitching in the middle of the game,” Hoyer said. “He had struggles that frustrated people at the end of the game. We held out on this move for a long time in part because with his salary, he was providing solid innings in the sixth and seventh. The decision really came down to it had become a distraction. It became hard to pitch as well as he could because every time he threw two balls, he’d get booed, and I don’t think that’s easy for anybody.

“I think it became difficult for his teammates because there was a little bit of a sideshow mentality to it,” Hoyer said. “We felt it was the right time. It had become a distraction and he wasn’t able to pitch late in the game for us. That was really the decision.”

Dale Sveum said Marmol handled the news Tuesday morning professionally and thanked the Cubs.

Kevin Gregg, who is 11-for-11 in save situations since taking over the job, said he hoped Marmol could find another team.

“He was kind of beating his head against the wall here,” Gregg said of Marmol. “The chance to get that fresh start, I think, will be good for him. He’s a great guy, a stand-up guy. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s great with fans. You always see him signing autographs, you always see him interacting with everybody. It’s part of the game. It’s unfortunate. I think he’ll be able to turn the corner and get his feet underneath him.”

In a strange twist, Marmol had replaced Gregg as the Cubs closer in 2009, and now they’ve switched places.

“I could sympathize with him,” Gregg said. “It’s a tough position to be in. When I was in Baltimore last year, it was the same thing for me. Getting my feet underneath me and a fresh start was all I needed.”

Gregg, who began this season with the Dodgers, then was released because they didn’t have a roster opening, knows only too well the roller coaster ride closers go on.

“We do our job and nobody says anything; we don’t do our job, and everyone puts you under a microscope,” he said.

This season, Marmol was 2-4 with a 5.86 ERA in 31 games, and 2-for-5 in save opportunities. Win or lose, save or not, he was always present in the clubhouse to answer questions post-game.

“The guy gave four really, really good seasons to the Cubs,” Hoyer said. “It kind of bums me out when I read some of the comments people make about his career in Chicago because they forget how dominant he was for four years. Frankly, I feel a lot of his ineffectiveness now is related to the fact that he was ridden so hard when he was at his best.

“He gave a lot to the Cubs and had a really good Cubs career,” Hoyer said.

The Cubs now have 10 days to either place Marmol on waviers, release him or trade him. Gregg is hoping Marmol finds a new team.

“I’m excited for him,” Gregg said. “I think it’s what he needed. He wanted to do it here. I think this is going to be good for him. As a friend, I think this is his chance to step back and look at himself in the mirror and say, ‘I can still do this’ and that little breath of fresh air will help him out.”

– Carrie Muskat

8 Comments

mamma mia your compassion for the minor leaguer trying to make it to the bigs is respected. If they have the talent, work ethic, personality and desire those years of struggles are rewarded.
If they have the desire and not so much talent, the struggles they go through trying to make it is respected, but their choice. You hear stories of guys making it in their late 20’s, early 30’s, but rare. Those few had a dream and desire with some talent and a learning ability. Their choice was keep trying.
Its is a job, most of us start at low pay grades and work our way up. Their struggles are their choice.

Thanks for this perspective.
I do agree, in the world of competitive sports, we sometime forget how little a part of the big picture sports are and Marmol did his best to remain positive.
-Jesús F. Jiménez, Cubs fan

geez it never stops does it…. how the heck do you know he lived on $800 a month? Please just stop and go away

I’m glad that Hoystein took the decision of playing Marmol away from the wishy washy Sveum. I’m glad Marmol is gone but thank you Mamma for some insight regarding Marmol’s history with the team. Most of us are not privy to such “inside” info due to your proximity to the team’s training facilities. Too bad HWSRN won’t be DFA’d….

My take on it is, I remember the good years, but the botton line in sports, what are you doing for us now? So yes, I am glad he is gone.
On Sveum using him, I really believe there was pressure from above to use him. Hoping like last year, he would find it and become more valuable as a trading chip. That did not happen into June, so yes, even management pulled the plug.

I thought the same thing Jasper but still wish to have a manager with enough spherical, anatomical body parts to do THE RIGHT THING AND MANAGE, not cave in under pressure
from above. Sveum has a contract that guarantees him money….make some better decisions on the field would be nice right? Soriano batting 3 an 4 STILL? I can see him playing Soriano due to lack of alternatives but to bat him 3 or 4 during a low point in his production is not managing WELL.

Anytime Mamma!!!

I dont know how to explain it it Joey, but even Sveum has a boss. The contract you speak of contains clauses. Then you have a job description that your performance is evaluated on. The movie money ball was a great example of a Manager trying to defy his GM.
I guess the best way to explain it is, there is so much going on in that front office, the managers office, the coachs, the scouting, the IT department, the club house guys, the equipment transportation that there is a chain of command that must be followed.
Sveum is in the middle of that. Will he get any praise with a losing team? Nope! Will he get 2nd guessed every game? Yep. Does he make mistakes? He’s human! Is he under pressure from media? Yep. Is he under pressure from fans? Yep. Does he have to follow orders from his boss? Yep!
It takes a rare person to go through all that and keep your sanity. I could not do it.
I could make a list of small things I think Sveum has done wrong, but I am not in that dugout, nor do I know whats going on with the communication process.

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