After making the simultaneously difficult and easy decision to name Kevin Gregg the team’s closer over Carlos Marmol, Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella is going to have to deal with some subversive criticism. The first time Gregg blows a save or the first time Marmol strikes out the side in the seventh inning, he’s going to hear it.
But he probably wasn’t expecting to hear it already, and from within his own clubhouse. Yesterday, Marmol suggested Piniella knew whom he was choosing all along, that it wasn’t much of a competition, and that he was very disappointed in the manager’s choice.
“Let me tell you what, it was all about competition, that I can tell you,” Piniella said. “I don’t know how many innings Gregg has pitched, but he hasn’t given up a run here all spring. I’ve said all along that either way we went, we’d be making the right choice.”
“I’m sure he is somewhat disappointed, or he is disappointed,” Piniella said. “But he needs to get over it and pitch and help us win baseball games. And I know he will. he’s a good young man and he competes well and today he’ll get the ball and we’ll go from there.”
Not as harsh as “get over it” usually sounds, so that’s good. The last thing the Cubs need is a disgruntled Marmol. Other than the money associated with amassing “saves,” the difference between a team’s closer and primary set-up man is negligible.
For what it’s worth, Marmol yesterday sounded a little more at ease about the decision.