Remember when the Chicago Cubs nearly traded Carlos Marmol to the Los Angeles Angels for Dan Haren? In a starting rotation that had Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija, Haren would’ve been a nice stopgap option for 2013. The Cubs would’ve moved on from the adventures of a reliever who walked 45 batters in 55.1 innings.
The trade fell through. Haren signed with the Washington Nationals. Edwin Jackson left the Nationals, eventually signing a $52 million contract with the Cubs. Marmol remained in the Cubs’ bullpen, his lack of control destined to resurface during the ninth inning of many games.
That lack of control has gone beyond home plate or the batter’s box. Marmol faces abuse allegations from the attorneys of a 24-year-old female named Miledys Mejia Cepeda. No polices charges have been filed. Marmol’s attorneys claim that the woman is involved in blackmail and extortion.
What does that mean for Marmol? In 2013, “Lack of control” has a new meaning for him. He was already playing for a team who showed that they’re not committed to him. Now he’ll think about these allegations.
Will these mental challenges have any impact on how Marmol pitches? Despite his walks, Marmol finished the last two complete months of the season with a 0.90 ERA in August and a 2.45 ERA in September. That came after Marmol temporarily lost his closer job for the second time in fewer than 12 months.
Fans can only hope that Marmol rises above this. Unless Marmol is traded or he has a terrible spring training, he’ll start the season as the closer. The Cubs’ only backup option is Kyuji Fujikawa, a 32-year-old who comes from the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan.