Carlos Marmol had a star-crossed 2011 season for the Cubs. He started the season in dominant fashion before allowing 6 runs in one third of an inning on 5/31 against Houston. When Marmol goes bad he goes real bad. The Cubs lackluster infield defense didn’t do him any favors in 2011 either. He posted an ERA of 4.01 last year but that number is inflated from allowing 15 earned runs in three appearances that covered just two thirds of an inning. In contrast Marmol allowed just 18 runs in the other 73 1/3 innings pitched in 2011. Marmol is signed through 2013 for $16.8 million.
The Philadelphia Phillies are in the market for a closer. Incumbent Ryan Madson is a free agent and despite much speculation that he agreed to a new deal with the club nothing has been announced. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro has stated that there is no deal in place for Madson. The Phillies are expected to turn their attention to free agent closer Jonathan Papelbon, formerly of the Red Sox. Papelbon and Madson are both reportedly seeking four year deals in the range of $40-44 million. There is also speculation that the Phillies are interested in signing free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer. The signing of Cuddyer could make either Dom Brown or John Mayberry Jr. expendable from the Phillies perspective. Rather than following up a Cuddyer signing by entering into another expensive long term contract for a closer I wonder if Marmol might interest Philadelphia. He would only be signed for two years rather than four and for less than half of the total that it would take to lock up Madson or Papelbon. The Cubs could benefit from adding a talent like Brown or Mayberry to the lineup. Epstein and Hoyer could then sign Papelbon to be the Cubs closer, or move Sean Marshall into the role and spend the money to add a starter. Of course, all of this is predicated on the Phillies believing that Marmol can be trusted over the course of the season. Frankly, I don’t trust him so I’m not sure if Charlie Manuel or Ruben Amaro do either.