When the Cubs let Kerry Wood go, it was assumed Carlos Marmol and his freaky slider would be taking over the closer role in 2009 – and this is still a pretty good assumption even with other candidates like former Marlins short-man Kevin Gregg on the roster. Even so, Carlos will have to put together a solid spring training to absolutely lock down the ninth inning job. “Let ’em compete,” Lou Piniella said of the situation. Gregg has the advantage on Marmol in terms of experience, having been Florida’s closer for two years, racking up 62 saves, while Marmol was making his bones as an occasionally-dominating set-up man.
Possibly complicating thing for Carlos is the crazy off-season schedule he’s been keeping this year: Marmol spent January pitching in the Dominican League playoffs, and will also pitch for the Dominican Republic in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Which leads me to make this humble request: Could we do away with the World Baseball Classic? It’s a horrible idea that will only lead to some big-name guy blowing out his arm or tearing up his knee. Cubs fans are particularly skittish when it comes to the arm-health of their young stud pitchers, given the disappointments of recent years. The organization must’ve been concerned about Carlos’s work-load too, which is why they covered themselves by picking up Gregg.