Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum wasted no time pulling Carlos Marmol out of the closer role. After blowing a save against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday, Sveum decided that that was enough. He will have Kyuji Fujikawa replace Marmol as the closer.
Marmol has recorded 116 saves in his career for the Cubs, but he has blown 26 in his eight-year MLB career. Marmol has never been a consistent closer at any point in his career, so this move is not coming as a surprise.
“that’s one reason why we signed [Fujikawa] in case something like this happened.” Svuem told the Chicago Tribune. “In Japan, he’s always done it many, many times and is comfortable getting the last three outs, so it was kind of the logical thing to do.”
Fujikawa is 32-year-old rookie that pitched for 12 seasons in the Japanese Central league and recorded almost 200 saves in his Japanese career. Fujikawa was expected to take the closer role when Marmol’s contract expired after the 2013 season, but plans have obviously changed and he will be closing now.
As for Marmol’s future with the team, Sveum said, “Obviously, Marmol is going to pitch in less stressful situations and get his confidence back.”
The Cubs did have other options to consider as a replacement for Marmol, they could have used right-hander Shawn Camp who has 12 career saves. Another option would have been James Russell, a lefty who recorded two saves for the Cubs last season, but Fujikawa is probably the best option.
This is not the first time that Marmol has been removed from the closer role and I don’t expect it to be the last. Fujikawa is a decent option, but he has no closing experience in the MLB and I think that will be a problem for him.