Bad news, Chicago Cubs fans. Carlos Marmol is slated to be the closer of yet another season of Cubs baseball.
Marmol, arguably one of the most despised players on the team, arrived in Mesa, AZ last week for Spring Training when manager Dale Sveum declared that Marmol would once again be the team’s closing pitcher.
Insert groans from fans.
With a team that already struggles to win games, Marmol is not the solution to the Cubs pitching woes. In 2011, the right-hander led the National League, and tied the MLB with a record 10 blown saves. That’s 10 games the Cubs potentially could have won; 10 games too many to give up.
Marmol temporarily lost his position as the closer in 2012 when he destroyed Ryan Dempster’s eight innings of shut out pitching, allowing the opposing Cincinnati Reds to take the win. Unfortunately, he was reacquired his place as the closer later on in the season.
Isn’t it time to find a pitcher who could practically guarantee a win when he takes the mound to close out a game?
What about Kyuji Fujikawa, the Japanese reliever the Cubs acquired during the offseason? The 32-year-old right-hander had 220 saves with his team in Japan, impressing his new teammates and coaches in Chicago. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to give him a shot as the closer than Marmol?
Don’t worry, Cubs fans. There is some good news.
It should be a relief knowing that 2013 is the final year of Marmol’s contract. Sure, the Cubs still have to pay him the rest of his $21 million contract, but wouldn’t it be worth it to replace him with a better closing pitcher like Fujikawa?
One thing is certain as the Cubs prepare for the new season: as long as Marmol is the closer, don’t expect many wins.