Closer Carlos Marmol is the last remaining arbitration-eligible player on the roster, and the Cubs aren’t looking to take chances – they want to lock the pitcher up for not only 2011, but beyond.

In the case of Carlos Marmol, you have a closer who has been as close to being an everyday player as a pitcher could be. Marmol has averaged almost 80 appearances over the past three seasons. In 2010, he saved 38 games, which was half of the Cubs’ victory total.

The Cubs are offering Marmol $4.1 million as part of the arbitration process. Marmol and his agents are seeking $5.6 million.

The bigger picture is whether the sides can come to an agreement on a three-year deal. A two-year contract would not be beneficial for the Cubs. Marmol has one more year of arbitration left in 2012. After that season, he’ll be eligible for free agency. The Cubs would give Marmol a three-year deal if they could save some money over the average life of the three years.

A good starting point for an agreement might be $18-$20 million. In 2011, Marmol most likely will get around $4.8 million when the sides decide to agree. Projecting next season, Marmol may get $7-$8 million, if he repeats his 2010 performance. ESPN Chicago.

That projection puts the third of Marmol’s deal at only $7 or 8 million, which is quite low for a top-of-the-line reliever. Surely, Marmol would get more on the open market. That is not to say he would refuse such a deal from the Cubs, though, in order to get some security. Obviously if he’d take anything from $18 million to $22 million over the next three years, the Cubs would probably be wise to sign him up.

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