Carlos Marmol’s Performance Last Year Was Unacceptable and Other Bullets

I’d reckon that most of you are familiar with Al Yellon’s BleedCubbieBlue blog (the Cubs’ rep on the SB Nation network). I’ve been a reader and commenter over there for a long time, and Al recently asked if I would be in contributing an occasional post. So, starting on Monday, a few times a week, I’ll be putting together a bullets-style post consisting of items of interest from around MLB (i.e., non-Cub). If you just can’t get enough Brett-Bullets here at BN, head over to BCB next week to get additional fix. And now, back to your originally-scheduled programming…

  • Cubs’ GM Jed Hoyer was on the radio yesterday speaking candidly on a wide range of topics (many of which will be the subject of upcoming posts), as we have come to expect from the new guys in charge. One subject on Hoyer’s mind was the past and future performance of the Cubs’ expected closer, Carlos Marmol. “I don’t think what happened last year is acceptable,” Hoyer said Thursday on “The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show” on ESPN 1000. “I think there’s nothing more demoralizing to a baseball team than to win for 2:45 and then lose in the last 10. I think that happened a lot last year. If you look back, this guy has had some dominant years …. Everyone said the slider wasn’t quite the same last. Hopefully there are some mechanical things we can do to get that back. Blowing 10 saves isn’t acceptable, but we’re not wiling to say he can’t get back to where he was before.” It’s odd to hear a GM speaking from a default position that “we won’t say he *won’t* be good again,” rather than “we think he’ll get it back next year.” I know they’re just words, but it almost sounds a little defeatist. I’m confident that the Cubs would have preferred to move Marmol this Winter, but the closer market collapsed pretty early in the offseason. So, I think Marmol’s already behind the 8-ball a little bit with this front office, and hopefully he’ll pitch well enough in the first half of the year to give the Cubs some options.
  • Jed will soon be heading to Spring Training, to which he’s driving from Chicago with his dog. Of note, Hoyer says the Cubs will be having their organizational meetings next week (Wednesday and Thursday), which meetings you’ll recall were postponed from early in the offseason. I imagine that a number of the things typically discussed at organizational meetings have already been settled, and these meetings will be about a variety of important in-season items (player development and scouting, what players should be focusing on, etc. – making sure that everyone in a position of authority in the organization is on the same page).
  • Ryan Dempster was on MLBN Radio discussing his and the Cubs’ struggles, and the 34-year-old starter says he hopes to stay in Chicago for a long, good time. “I’ve never quit anything in my life and I don’t want to quit it now,” Dempster said. “I want to be there when we’re winning and we’re winning on a consistent basis and, most importantly, when we’re winning a World Series. If that means you’re fighting through some tough times, sometimes that makes it more gratifying in the end …. I’m looking forward to, hopefully, staying in Chicago the rest of my career and being a Cub and [helping to bring] a World Series to [a] city that deserves it so much now on the North Side.” I’ve always liked Ryan Dempster, and I want him to achieve success. But, unfortunately, it’s hard to see him back on the Cubs in 2013 – if he continues to slide this year, the Cubs may not want him back; if he pitches well this year, he might price himself out of the Cubs’ reasonable range.
  • If you wanted to buy Carlos Zambrano’s Chicago residence, it just got a little easier. Now, instead of throwing away an unthinkable $969,000 on Zambrano’s 13-room, 4,000 square foot home in River Forest, you can get it for a mere $929,000. If you point out all the holes in the walls, I bet you can get another $10k knocked off.
  • Cubs owner Laura Ricketts introduced President Obama at a fundraiser last night, and the President was gracious: Thank you, Laura, for the wonderful introduction – the best introduction that a Cubs fan has ever given me,” Obama said. “The rivalry is fierce in Chicago, but I’ll make an exception here.” That’s nice and all, Mr. President, but we’ll never forget what you said about Cubs fans a few years ago: “You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer, beautiful people up there. People aren’t watching the game. It’s not serious. White Sox, that’s baseball. South Side.” For shame, sir. (This is not an invitation to discuss politics, folks. You may freely criticize President Obama for his embarrassingly terrible choice in baseball teams, but that’s it.)
  • Jon Morosi offers an interesting take on the pressures associated with signing a $100 million contract.
  • When lineup discussions come up this early, you often hear people grouse that “we’re really talking about this already?” Well, here’s something to get you grousing: how about a discussion on what the lineup will look like … in June. Courtesy of Oswego Chris on the BN Message Board.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

60 responses to “Carlos Marmol’s Performance Last Year Was Unacceptable and Other Bullets”

  1. Cliffy

    Does anybody else think Cubs still have a chance to sign Cespedes? Just throwing it out there that Marlins President Samson says openly they “don’t need him” but want him. Then combine that with the perceived speculation that Marlins have a limit on money willing to spend to sign him should still give us some hope.

    QT @Brendan_Tobin: Samson on #Marlins interest in Cespedes: “We want him, but we don’t need him” http://t.co/JBCSyjlV

    1. Wilbur

      Cubs definitely have a chance.

      Interesting situation to watch, this player does not appear to be a game changer if you get him or doom the franchise if you don’t. It’s just an opportunity (that won’t exist in the future) to pick up major league talent and not suffer anything more than paying “top dollar plus an over slot payment.”.

  2. MichiganGoat

    Brett, our baby alls growns up and yous growns up good

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KALJy9fw2Q

    Congrats on you growing dominance in the all things Cubs on the interweb.

  3. Nate Corbitt

    Say Dempster pitches decent this season. Do you think the Cubs would bring him back as a back end guy if he offered them a hometown discount?

    1. jt

      i’m thinking he’ll need a career year this year in order to even spark a discussion. that’s my own ill informed opinion, simply based on how the new front office has acted since being in place.

    2. MichiganGoat

      It would have to be a discount like Kerry gave the Cubs last year. If he starts off strong I’m sure the FO will try to talk him into a trade but even if he is lights out this year I’m sure the FO will be very hesitant to give him a contract. They are not looking to sign 35 yr old pitchers.

      1. King Jeff

        I wouldn’t put it past Dempster to come back and pitch another year or two at 3 or 4 million a year with incentives if he pitches well this year and decides to keep going. He does seem like the kind of guy who would leave money on the table to help the team win, as a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure he deferred salary to help the team a few years ago.

        1. Wilbur

          Could happen this way, particularly if the new pitchers that have been acquired regress instead of progress.

        2. CubFan Paul

          eh, Dempster looked “gassed” last year. We’ll be lucky if he’s league average this year.

          1. SirCub

            I wouldn’t be disappointed to have a league average (or maybe a little worse) pitcher on our team in 2013-2014, as long as we aren’t relying on him at the top of the rotation. I’d love to have Demp on a home-town friendly deal as a 4 or 5 starter (when we are in contention).

    3. Beer Baron

      I think its very possible, assuming of course he does pitch well and shows he has another year or two left in him. Depends on a lot of things – how do the young guys perform (Wood, Volsted, Wells) and at this time next year are we counting on any or all of them to be in the rotation? Do the Cubs land any of the big name starters potentially available in free agency next year? What happens with Garza, and if he’s traded is there now another young pitcher needing a spot? Any minor leaguers (McNutt?) ready to move up? And, what could be the actual deciding factor, how does Maholm do this year? They have a club option on him for next year – if he sucks but Dempster does well and is willing to sign for the same amount, maybe they take him instead to have a veteran presence at the back of the rotation.

      Either way, contrary to what many have said, the Cubs will not trade Dempster at the deadline because he won’t approve the trade as has 10/5 rights.

      1. CubFan Paul

        “because he won’t approve the trade as has 10/5 rights” ..why? Guys waive the right to be traded “all” the time

        1. Beer Baron

          and guys refuse to accept a trade “all the time”, too. I’m just saying in my opinion, because of family reasons he will choose to stay here until he has to leave (ie the Cubs don’t employ him any longer). I certainly could be wrong, but I would be shocked if he accepted a deal unless its just a perfect scenario – that is why the union fought for the 10/5 rules so guys don’t have to uproot their familes if they don’t want to. Again, just my opinion.

  4. cccubfan

    Brett – do you think if the Cubs can’t unload Soriano on somebody and Jackson has a good spring that they’ll release Soriano outright?
    just curious about another persons opinion on this…..

    1. King Jeff

      I think Soriano’s power and the current makeup of the Cubs team, makes him too important to just release him mid season. Of course if he’s hitting .210 with 2 homeruns(or something similar) at the end of May, then it’s a different story.

  5. Elwood

    Regardless of politics, you can tell Obama is a White Sox fan by the way he throws a baseball! He throws like a sissy!!!!! Anyone else remember his ceremonial first pitches?!?!?! We have fans that can make home plate from the left field bleachers!!!!

  6. baseballet

    Regarding Marmol, I remember reading that the Cubs overused him pretty terribly the last few years. I don’t know if that’s true–I don’t know how many innings a closer should work as compared to the number of innings Marmol threw the past two seasons, but I’ll bet someone on this board will know.
    Also, Cubs Den mentions a Marmol rumor in today’s post, although they don’t source it:
    “Carlos Marmol has been put on notice that he needs to come to camp in shape. He was letting his conditioning slide quite a bit, some have said he got plain ‘fat’.”
    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2012/02/latest-on-vitters-cespedes-marmol/

  7. ferrets_bueller

    Severely disappointed that that article didn’t include pictures of Jed’s dog. Love goldens.

  8. King Jeff

    I was actually a fan of Obama until he spouted that crap. I guess they don’t like to watch “real baseball” on the south side, since nobody(not even Mr. Obama) shows up to the games. When you can’t even sell out when your team is in a World Championship season, you shouldn’t rip on fans of other teams.

    1. cjdubbya

      I guess “real baseball fans” jump the field and beat the crap out of the opposition’s base coaches. That’s not idiocy, that’s not lunacy, that’s just showing support for your team, because you’re a “real baseball fan”.

    2. ferrets_bueller

      Goldman Sachs pawn.

      I’m not saying anything.

    3. DocWimsey

      New Yorkers look at it the other way around, or at least the ones that I know. They *hate* it when the local politicians try to pretend that they are fans of both the Mets and the Yankees. A Met fan will *hate* you for being a Yankees fan, but he/she/it will *disrespect* you for pretending to be a fan of both. (Yankee fans just look puzzled if you mention the Mets!)

      I was a neighbor of Obama’s until I left Chicago. That region (Hyde Park) does lean heavily towards the ChiSox: and, trust me, all ChiSox fans say the same things about the Cubs. Of course, so many people are there because of the University that all of the Harvard grads bring in a lot of Red Sox (= Real Sox! ;-)) fans, and there always are lots of Yankee fans in a community like that. However, because so many non-Chicagoans associate the Cubs with Chicago baseball, the “furrnurs” do tend to think of the Cubs before the ChiSox.

  9. JB88

    I’ve always had the belief that at just about any baseball game you will find between 15-20 thousand true fans and after that are the kids and people who are there for an entertainment event.

    I don’t think there is really anything wrong with what President Obama says — it is just that the Sox ONLY draw true fans. The Cubs draw their 15-20K fans, but also attract little kids, and lots of people who are there to be entertained. The difference is the venue and location. Reinsdorf and the Sox were idiots for rebuilding Comisky in that neighborhood. Seriously, who in their right mind wants to go to a night game staring out onto the Robert Taylor homes?

    1. rcleven

      Problem with the Cell Public parking is 9 blocks from the park. People don’t want to walk that far in that neighborhood.

  10. RoughRiider

    I’ve never actually met a White Sox fan. As for Obama ……………………….. Brett, You said I couldn’t say anything.

  11. gritsngravy

    Obama is a sox fan and since he is a sox fan I would respect him less if he said good things about the cubs. My best friend is a die hard sox fan and he says oh I want to see the cubs win a world series. I tell him that I don’t want him to pull for the cubs to win a world series because he is a sox fan. I respect people who stick with there team no matter what.

    1. cjdubbya

      I do too…doesn’t mean that I can’t hate that comment he made way back when. Several years back, when the ChiSox won the series, a couple of my co-workers said that I should be happy for them, because they’re from the Midwest region of the country. No freakin’ way. I can understand their point, I just don’t agree with it.

      Not our fault that people actually feel safe on the North side. Yeah, there are a bunch of fans at the game for the social aspect at Wrigley, but don’t discount everyone for the antics of a few.

      1. Jim

        I have Sox fan friends who said the same thing. Yeah I should be happy for those mouth breathing, meth heads when two years earlier they were foaming at the mouth at the thought of the Cubs advancing to the World Series, and when the Bartman incident happened, they couldn’t stop the email jokes or harassing phone calls. F*** the Sox and their fans.

  12. die hard

    Does keeping Soriano act as a reminder of past bad decisions and argue for an out of sight out of mind approach to just let him go? As with Zambrano, the FO felt that cant have him hanging around anymore if team is to go forward. Maybe same is true as to Soriano. If his salary was only $3 million/yr do you think the Cubs would hesitate to cut him? So, why should large salary change thinking? A bad deal is a bad deal. The pain of keeping him will outweigh pain of letting him go. Trying to squeeze a few ounces of remaining juice out of this lemon of a decision is just not worth it, plain and simple.

    1. hansman1982

      Wow, using your thinking lets play What If:
      You own 2 cars, one that you owe $5,400 on and one that you owe $900 on. Both have 3 years remaining on the loan payments. You have another car that you could get for $50 but first you have to dump one of the other two cars that you have.

      Are you honestly saying that you would rather write a check for $5400 than $900?

  13. hcs

    Living on the South Side, I am in a definite minority, and in fact if I wear my Cubs hat into the wrong bar, I run the risk of being accosted by a Neanderthal in an AJ Pierczynski jersey, but at the same time, I have known decent Sox fans who love the game, and who would rather see a world series championship come to Chicago than anywhere else, even if it is for the Cubs. It’s hard for me to defend them, knowing that the majority are recently paroled knuckle draggers, but the decent ones exist.