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.

Lou has responded.

“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.

  • ricky

    The number one problem with the Chicago Cubs is hitting. They can’t hit. It is time for Lou to insist upon 8 hours of hitting practice every day for every Cubs player. In fact there should be a fine for every missed ball. Bring up the pitchers from the minors and have them throw pitches at the pitiful Cubs Missers until they are able to hit the goddamn ball.

    Now if Lou cannot do this then he should get the hell out of Chicago. But if he has the least amount of honor and loyalty he will force these prima donnas into 8-hour days of batting practice. That’s my advice and if Lou don’t do, then Lou should blow. End of story

    • Ace

      You’re right that the offense is obviously the problem. But 8 hours of batting practice is a bit much, if only because the Cubs don’t have the facilities to accommodate that. Oh, and because then guys would be dog ass tired for the games.