Chicago Cubs: Evaluating Carlos Marmol’s place in team history
By Jake Misener
Carlos Marmol experienced a tumultuous run as closer of the Chicago Cubs. How should we remember him looking back on his tenure?
Who’s ready to ride the Marmol Coaster? Buckle your seatbelts, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Love him, hate him or harbor indifference toward former Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Marmol, he played an important role in the bullpen for a good while – while simultaneously costing us all some years on the back end of our lives.
The right-hander broke onto the scene in unceremonious fashion back in 2006, making 13 starts and a half-dozen relief appearances. He struggled to a 76 ERA+, 6.47 FIP and unsustainable (but telling) 1.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio, averaging 6.9 walks and 6.9 strikeouts in his 77 innings.
Chicago made the decision to transition Marmol to the bullpen that offseason – to tremendous results. The 24-year-old former catcher notched a sparkling 1.43 ERA in what was undoubtedly the best single-season performance of his career. His strikeout numbers exploded, as he averaged 12.5 punchouts per nine – and he became the go-to guy in the Cubs bullpen.
He followed that up with his lone All-Star season in 2008, when he made 82 appearances, working to a 2.68 ERA and 0.927 WHIP. He didn’t earn the closer’s job, though, until late in the 2009 season, when he replaced veteran right-hander Kevin Gregg.