Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carlos Marmol is the subject of many fans’ ire since the 2012 season, but the scorn and anger has reached new levels after a rocky start to his 2013 campaign to where he currently sports a 5.14 ERA.
Marmol used to be one of the more dominant relievers in MLB from 2007-2011 when he had a 2.84 ERA and appeared on an average of 74 times per season. It’s that latter number that makes me wonder if former managers Lou Piniella and Mike Quade worked Marmol too often, which has led to the ineffectiveness Cubs fans are seeing of late.
Cubs’ general manager Jed Hoyer expressed this to Jesse Rodgers from ESPN.com:
“I think he has a number of more appearances than any other pitcher in baseball over the last four or five years… His fastball and slider aren’t what they used to be but in part that because he’s been really durable and ridden hard by a number of managers here.”
Marmol isn’t revered by the fan base despite his admirable track record as a setup man and closer before his troubles of the past two seasons, and laying any of the blame at the feet of someone else besides Marmol may seem ridiculous at first blush.
However, Cubs fans were quick to point the finger at Dusty Baker for his issues with Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, yet Piniella and Quade dodge the bullet for this.
Ultimately, Marmol has to be accountable for his performance and it’s his name on the back of the Cubs jersey until he is released, traded or otherwise. He will be the first one to tell you that he hasn’t pitched as well as he has in the past, but the residual effects of the past regimes in Chicago are also a part of the problem.
Nothing can be done to change the past and Marmol will continue to be thrown into tight late-inning situations, because Dale Sveum doesn’t have a lot of options. As a Cubs fan, I’m hoping he can revert to the form we have grown accustomed in the past.
It’s the past, however, that may prevent a nice future or even a palatable present.