Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Marmol might not make it to Opening Day 2013. According to a rumor from ESPN Chicago writer Bruce Levine, the Cubs are expected to trade Marmol before Apr. 1. The Detroit Tigers were mentioned as a potential suitor for the 30-year-old closer.
This is the second time that Marmol has been linked to trade rumors since the 2012 MLB season ended. In Nov. 2012, the Los Angeles Angels and Cubs had reportedly agreed to a deal that would’ve exchanged Dan Haren and Marmol. That deal was never finalized because of concerns with Haren’s health. Haren became a free agent, signing with the Washington Nationals. The Cubs were stuck with Marmol.
Cubs fans seem like they’re overwhelmingly in favor of this. ESPN SportsNation had a poll titled “Should the Cubs trade Carlos Marmol before Opening Day?” As of 1,339 votes, 87 percent chose in the affirmative.
What happens if Marmol is traded? This past off-season, the Cubs signed closer Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year contract. The 32-year-old Fujikawa would almost certainly step into that role. He saved 220 games while pitching in Japan.
The timing of these rumors is somewhat surprising when one considers that the Cubs are already down two relievers. Because of injuries to starting pitchers Matt Garza and Scott Baker, Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva have been forced into the Opening Day rotation. Garza and Baker will start the season on the disabled list. Both pitchers should return before the end of Apr.
Let’s assume that Marmol is traded for pitching prospects. I’m interested to see how the players feel and respond to such a transaction. Would they take it as the waving of the white flag on this season? Most fans would love it because they’re tired of the drama that ensues almost every time Marmol takes the mound. Players may view it as a sign of quitting.
What’s clear is that Marmol isn’t in this franchise’s long-term plan.