Chicago Cubs: Evaluating Carlos Marmol’s place in team history
Chicago Cubs: Leaving his own mark on the franchise record books
Despite the ups and downs and his maddening inconsistencies, especially with his wipeout slider, Carlos Marmol left his mark on this franchise. From 2007 to 2010, he made 297 appearances, pitching to a 2.54 ERA and striking out 441 batters in just 308 1/3 innings of work. Of the 1,300 batters he faced during this span, 33.9 percent went down via the strikeout. The bigger problem, here, many would argue – was his 5.6 BB/9 during this run, which was undoubtedly the best of his career.
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But when you’re flipping through the Cubs record books, you find Marmol’s name among some impressive company. He ranks third all-time in franchise history with 117 saves, trailing a pair of Hall of Famers in Lee Smith and Bruce Sutter.
He’s also the team’s all-time leader in both hits per nine (5.891) – edging out former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta atop the leaderboard (6.568). His 11.66 punchouts per nine stand out as the best in Cubs history, as well, topping the likes of the team’s dynamic duo from the first decade of the 2000s, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.
Marmol ranks second all-time among Cubs pitchers in appearances and games finished. But none of that seems to matter much when we look back at his tenure on the North Side. What we tend to remember is the inconsistency, his outings where he’d walk the bases loaded, then strike out the side, undoubtedly leading to us all yelling and pacing watching the ninth inning.
Being a Cubs closer isn’t an enviable position. Few experience any real longevity in the role, with Marmol being one of the few exceptions over the recent decades. So as we sit and wait for the return of baseball – and hopefully a resurgent Craig Kimbrel – this summer, let’s tip our cap while remembering what it was like to ride the Marmol Coaster.