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Carlos Marmol Joins Flooded Closer Market


The Chicago Cubs tried to trade closer Carlos Marmol once already this year only to see the Marmol-for-Dan Haren swap fall apart. According to Gordon Wittmeyer of the Sun-Times, Marmol has been informed that the Cubs are shopping him once again.

September 7, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carlos Marmol (49) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Chicago Cubs won 12-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Marmol collected just 20 saves last season and was in and out of the closer’s role. His last season of dominance came in 2010, but even then he was walking far too many hitters. Though Marmol has fanned almost 12 batters per nine innings over his career, he’s also walked half that many. Last season, Marmol saw his walk rate climb to 7.3.

It’s one thing to be effectively wild. It’s another entirely to simply be wild.

In addition to his inconsistencies, Marmol is owed just shy of $10 million for the 2013 season, though it’s expected the Cubs would be willing to pick up part of that tab in order to facilitate a deal. Chicago has newly-signed Japanese righty Kyuji Fujikawa ready to serve as Marmol’s set-up man, but he’s been a top closer in Japan for the better part of a decade and could easily claim the job.

Marmol joins Pittsburgh’s Joel Hanrahan on the trade market and there are a few closer’s left on the free agent market as well in Rafael Soriano, Brian Wilson, and Jose Valverde. What’s unclear is where any of these guys will find an opportunity to close games.

A brief jaunt through the league brings only a handful of places where a job may even be possible and none of them are premium locations for free agents. Teams like Miami or Houston could use a ninth inning man and such a pitcher could use a one-year deal and figure to build value to be traded to a contender at the deadline.

Other teams like Detroit or Toronto may have openings, but prefer to go with in-house options instead of paying a premium for saves.

In the case of each of these pitchers, a job pitching in middle relief is far more likely to come, as is the paycheck normally given to pitchers in those roles. Soriano, in particular, grossly mis-judged the closer’s market when he opted out of a $14 million 2013 salary with the Yankees in an attempt to land a multi-year deal. He may wind up getting his $14 million back, but it might have to be spread over three seasons for him to do it.

The Prates have been lamenting the lack of interest in Hanrahan on the trade market and I expect the Cubs will find similar struggles in moving Marmol.