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.