Goatriders of the Apocalypse

2009 Player Previews - Carlos Marmol

Carlos Marmol

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Can you believe the season is only a day away? I don’t know about you, but this has been the longest spring ever. So, I have the honor of second to last player preview, unless we decided to look at the batboys or David Patton, if he makes the team. Until then, lets take a look at another bullpen arm.

Coming into this season, everybody thought (including me) that Carlos Marmol would be the closer for the Cubs. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to Marmol’s accession to the top spot in the pen. After hedging about joining the World Baseball Classic, Marmol pitched for the Dominican, where he eventually blew a save against the Netherlands. The Netherlands? That’s almost as bad as the Pirates losing to community college in Spring Training (which did happen).

The one thing that I love about Lou Pinella is that he wants competition in Spring Training. For the most part, it works. Guys like Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot are living proof. This year he opened up the closer’s role, and Kevin Gregg stepped up to challenge Marmol. With WBC and a spotty spring, Lou chose Gregg, who hasn’t given up a run all spring. Marmol’s been wild this spring, hitting five and walking two. That’s led to his 4.35 ERA. We can only hope that the Netherlands incident hasn’t carried over to the Cubs.

Marmol has been a workhorse for two seasons, and I’m convinced that his exploits are a major reason the Cubs are two time NL Central Division Champions. In the past two seasons, Marmol has thrown 156 2/3 innings, while striking out 210 with his slider. There are times where he relies on the slider too much, and it has got him in trouble at times when he couldn’t locate his fastball. Last season, he only allowed 40 hits in 87 1/3 innings, which translates into an .0927 WHIP. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

Still, with all those numbers, I’m glad Lou gave the closer spot to Gregg. Now, he can continue to use Marmol in the situations where the Cubs need a strikeout or two innings of relief. That being said, Lou does need to balance him out a little bit, because he has looked less than sharp at times. The Cubs have a serious problem, and little depth if Marmol isn’t lights out again this season, but I’m not worried (well, at least not yet).

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