I said in the EBS yesterday that I didn’t want to hear a word about – or a word from – Carlos Marmol unless it was about him hitting the disabled list so he could work things out.

I meant it.

So I’m pissed when I hear Dale Sveum say he’s “considering” a change at closer. Considering? There is nothing to consider. It’s time. It’s way past time, actually. I’m not pissed at Dale Sveum mind you, because I have no doubt that he wanted to make this change weeks ago. Listen to the way Sveum talks about Marmol.

“You’ve got to throw strikes and you have to throw strikes with your fastball,” Sveum said. “It’s the same story again. throwing 3-0 sliders when you have three-run leads is just not acceptable. We have to somehow make an adjustment there. We’ve got to throw fastballs in these situations.”

Sveum is clearly fed up, and it’s been a long time coming.

But Sveum has undoubtedly been pressured by the front office to keep Marmol in the closer’s role in the hopes that he’d generate enough value that the Cubs could dump him. I’m not even pissed at the front office for that, because it was just trying to make lemonade.

I’m pissed at the situation. Marmol’s value could not be lower now after he’s done everything in his power to torpedo it this season after a crappy 2011. There is no more value to reap. Just make the change. Let Marmol clear his head on the disabled list, and then let him pitch in low leverage, middle relief spots. Maybe he pitches well without the pressure, and then maybe you can dump him and save a few bucks. Right now, that’s the very best we can hope for.

As for who closes, Sveum says it could be James Russell or Rafael Dolis getting a look as “the closer.” I’m not crazy about either option, but I also don’t think it matters enough to get riled up. I don’t yet trust Dolis, but, then again, in a lost season, what’s the harm, right? Russell might be the Cubs’ best reliever, and I’d rather he was used in the highest leverage situations, regardless of inning. Maybe that’s closing sometimes, maybe it’s the 7th or 8th inning sometimes. Why not just use a committee to close? If there’s no imaginary value to build, just use whoever fits the situation.

My crazy vote for “closer,” if you’ve got to choose one? Shawn Camp. He doesn’t walk guys, and he can build some value there. Why the hell not, you know? He’s been a heck of a lot better than you think, too – his FIP is just 2.89, and his K/BB is an impressive 5.0.

UPDATE: Moments ago, Dale Sveum told Marmol he was no longer the closer, per multiple reports. James Russell and Rafael Dolis will work in a committee for now.

  • FromFenwayPahk

    Brett nailed this one: “Sveum has undoubtedly been pressured by the front office to keep Marmol in the closer’s role”

    It is the only thing I could think of during that ninth inning. Sveum was being strategic. Sending the message up (and down) the line. ‘We need a legit closer. THIS is my closer? OK, THIS is what that looks like…’ No one ever wants to see that again.

    So, no Marmol. OK. “by Committee” works on paper. If Sveum can do it with actual humans he’ll be the first. Someone up-thread said it was human egos. * Edit: KyleNovak (and then Joker mentioned ‘psyches’) There is a lot of truth here. And it is where metrics still fear to go. We’ll see if Sveum and Bosio have the stuff to manage real people. They might. *

    I think we will watch what looks like “closer by committee” while they do a bubble-sort of personnel. My bet is that Sept. it’ll be Michael Bowden at the top.

    The two other forces that will probably play into the answer to the closer question. One: continued player development-coaching and who will benefit from more:”pound the zone,” “trust your defense,” “here is your arm slot,” “work batter-X the way I tell you,” etc. Two: player re-assignment (within the organization) a hot hand moves into the pen (But, NOT Volstad, I think that monster will eat more Cubs innings in the next four years than any other pitcher on the roster right now. Volstad either starts (I hope) or is a long man in the pen.)

    • hansman1982

      I just hope and pray to sweet baby Jesus that this ushers in a new era of bullpen usage where you use your BEST reliever in a 6th inning bases loaded 1 out jam over a 3-run lead starting the 9th where it is (nearly) statistically impossible to lose the game. If that equals the Cubs inability to land the big time free agent relievers, then so be it. I would rather see what we are seeing here. Failed minor league starters who are turned into relievers.

      • Cubs Dude

        I agree mostly with that Hansman. You need that situtational guy who can get you out of tough innings. Although, I do think there is something to be said for a guy who can get it done in the 9th regardless of the lead.

  • http://bleachernation.com RicoSanto

    Quick,call Do they have any high priced pitchers to tradell the Yanks,without Mariano maybe Rothschild can put him back together.Soriano can be the closer and Marmol the set up man.Do they have any high priced pitchers to dump or we pay all but 2 mil each year

    • Drew

      Marmol wouldn’t be the set-up man, he isnt even good enough to carry Robertson’s Jockstrap.

  • Mark

    It’s not like this was unexpected. We have no closer…didn’t last year…don’t this year.

  • ty

    Way to go Mather! Maybe you are not just a s.t. filler. Come on–more playing time.

  • john beaird

    it,s about winning and marmol got to go now bigtime i been a cubs fan sence 1967 and that it he gone by by

    • 100 Years of Tears

      Wow, John… wow. I think I agree.

    • Rick Vaughn

      Well said John