Don’t look now but Carlos Marmol has once again returned to pitching on an All-Star worthy level. After a first half that saw Marmol be demoted as the team’s closer only to be re-inserted shortly after he returned from the disabled list all while posting an ERA of 5.61, it did not appear that Marmol would be with the Cubs beyond the 2012 season. However, Marmol has returned to being one of the most dominating closers in the game with his production in the second half thus far. In 11 appearances since the All-Star break, Marmol has posted an ERA of 1.69 while converting all 6 of his save opportunities.
Marmol’s second half performance is believed to have made him a waiver trade candidate for a contending team that is seeking an improvement to their bullpen for the final two months of the season. But, that may not be the plan that the Cubs have in store for Marmol. Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum committed to Marmol for being the team’s closer during the 2013 season.
“I don’t see why not right now,” Sveum said. “Knock on wood, he’s been as good as anyone in baseball since he’s been back in the closer’s role and the save opportunities he’s had.”
He’s the one guy on our roster who next year will have closed,” Sveum said, adding Marmol followed the game plan to use his fastball more often, after focusing on his slider early on.
“It’s a commodity that’s very difficult to find, and we’ll already have one going into next season.” Chicago Tribune
Marmol will be entering the final year of his three year, $21 million contract that he signed with the Cubs prior to the 2011 season. The downside to that is that the contract was back-loaded, meaning Marmol will earn $9.8 million during the 2013 season. If the Cubs were to look to trade Marmol in the off-season, it would appear that the team would have to absorb the majority of the $9.8 that remains on Marmol’s contract once the 2012 season concludes. That has been something that the Cubs’ front office has been willing to do this past season as long as the move ensured that the team would receive quality prospects in return.
Sveum’s commitment to Marmol would seemed to be based off the idea that the Cubs did not have any other pitcher on the roster for the 2013 season that has experience as a closer. Note that both Shawn Camp and Manny Corpas are free agents at the end of the season. The 29 year old Corpas has had a successful return to the Major Leagues this season with the Cubs as the reliever has posted an ERA of 3.68. One scenario for the Cubs could be trading Marmol while consuming most of money remaining on Marmol’s contract while opting to re-sign Corpas in the off-season for a presumably less amount than what Marmol will earn during the 2013 season.
Nonetheless, the mere fact that Marmol is throwing strikes on a consistent basis is reason enough to celebrate.