Carlos Marmol had a rough 2011. This is not news.
Whether it was a case of overuse, lack of conditioning, a new pitching coach, or something else entirely, Marmol’s fastball lost quite a bit of velocity, his slider lost quite a bit of bite, and his stuff became all too hittable. When it was remotely close to the strike zone, that is.
All together, it led to 10 blown saves, a 50% increase in his ERA from the year before, and his worst season since he was a 23-year-old rookie starting pitcher throwing meatballs.
With a bloated closer market this offseason, the Cubs never really had much of a chance to trade Marmol, if they were interested in doing so in the first place. So, now the team is left hoping Marmol can fix his mechanical/weight/whatever issues, and return to form in the early part of 2012. From there, anything could happen.
A component of that hoped-for resurgence will necessarily be in the form of new pitching coach, Chris Bosio.
“I think with Marmol, you just want him to be himself,” Bosio said yesterday as part of the Cubs Caravan. “We’ll address the mechanical stuff when we get a chance to see him.”
Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in February, but Bosio has already been looking at tape on his new staff. He doesn’t plan to immediately implement a host of changes for Marmol.
“You’ve got a unique guy [in Marmol]. Cal McLish, an old pitching coach told me, ‘Always let these guys go a little bit before you start changing anybody,’ and that’s my plan. I’ve got to see them first in person. Video can tell you so much, sitting 10 rows deep [in the stands as a scout] can tell you some things, too. You’ve got to let these guys be who they are and then try to help them and not so much maybe with mechanics but where we’re going with the pitch.”
Coming with both guns blazing may not be the best approach, so I understand Bosio’s reluctance. And, as we’ve seen with Marmol, he’s always going to have a funky delivery – as he does when he’s most effective. Still, it’s going to need some tweaks. Here’s hoping Bosio can help Marmol make them.