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.

  • Jumbo

    Maybe he just needs glasses like Rick Vaughn.

    • npnovak

      lmao that’s awesome

  • Robert

    If the Cubs are winning today 4-3, Top 9th, who closes it out?

    • Cubbies007

      No one. because the Cubs won’t be winning… get ready folks, this is gonna be a miserable weekend. Get out the brooms….

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Do not be too sure.  The Dodger’s gaudy record reflects (in big part) repeated games against three of the worst teams in the NL.  Yes, Kemp is (Kemp is…) Superman…. Ethier is a good moneyball player.  The rest of the lineup is not overwhelming: indeed, it’s barely whelming.  Kershaw is (he is….) Superman, too.  However, he’s not pitching this series.

        Do not get me wrong: the Dodgers are the better team.  But, really, they’d be a 0.500 team in a good division.

        • Leo L

          you sound so optimsitic. are you OK?

          • Spencer

            “repeated games against…the worst teams in the NL”.

            Like the Cubs?

      • gratefulled

        Go frolic yourself

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    Marmol needs to go. I got a good suggestion. How about Volstad. Volstad stuff just seems to fit a late inning reliever more so then a starter. This is not the first time I’ve suggested him to the pen, but why not see what he can do when he can go all out because he only has to pitch one inning. He can rebuild his career, and the cubs can increase their received value from the Z trade.

  • BD

    Are there any minor leaguers we have that can run a fastball up to near triple digits?

    I’m not saying that’s the only factor in a good reliever, or even the most important. But if someone can throw some heat without walking the bases loaded every game, I say give that kid a try. Especially in this written-off year.

    • Cubbies007

      Andrew Cashner. Oh, wait… Nevermnd. We traded him away for another AAAA hitter.

      • http://justinjabs.com/blog Justin Jabs

        Rizzo =/= AAAA

        • Randy

          your an idiot

          • necusfan

            You’re. Just sayin’.

      • Mikey

        Are you suggesting that Anthony Rizzo is a “AAAA” hitter? The kid is 22. Give him a break… he had one bad month, in september last year. No one’s worried about that.

      • Drew

        Really? Based on what, 150 PA at age 21? Give me a break.

        Lets hang onto an average, potentially above average RELIEVER when we have the chance to grab an elite 1B prospect. Sounds like a great idea…

      • AB

        Cashner has walked 9 guys and given up 2 HRs in 12 innings

      • Brian

        The same kind of AAAA hitter that LaHair is suppose to be, I’ll take it!!!

      • DRock

        If you’re going to criticize a trade we made last off-season, the one you should criticize is the Sean Marshall trade for Travis Wood. Now, that is looking like a terrible move by Theo and Jed. If Marshall was closing for us this year, we could probably be at least .500 right now. Meanwhile, Marshall is doing a fine job closing for the Reds and Wood is sucking in the minors…

  • Cheryl

    The cubs fairy godfather.in answer to Robert.

  • ArubaCubbie

    They could throw in Bosio for all I care. I’m sick of having these non producing crap holes taking up roster space. If we are to endure one or two more crap seasons, why not throw in a few kids in different roles and see how everything pans out? Closers are a dime a dozen and burn out faster than a candle in a hurricane. While their busy getting the Gremlin out of his role, throw Soriano on the bench as well, and see where in the hell he could be shipped out to. They play baseball in Mexico and Japan too right? There is no value in garbage, so get with the program and dump these wastes. If I’m to endure another lost season, at least let me watch possible new Cubs try and at least make a real effort while they’re at it.

  • Nathan

    Put Marmol on the DL before the game and call up Batista to close 😉

  • mjhurdle

    Bruce Levine on Twitter just said that Marmol is out and Dolis/Russell will switch off on closer duties.

  • http://bleachernation #1lahairfan

    Finally Dolis should have been closer way before this.

  • http://bleachernation #1lahairfan

    Finally Dolis should have been closer way before this. I mean dempster is 0-1 with an ERA less than 1.00.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com ichabod

    closer by committee works for me but if i had to choose it would be dolis. give him innings in a high intensity role. prepare him for what it means to be a cub. if they ever go to a series the intensity would be magnified just by being a cub. wont hurt in “lost season”. by the way 007 i assume you wont watch nor listen or hell even root if the brooms are already out. faker!

  • ottoCub

    If Marmol is out as closer, it begs the question: How does Sveum use him? He doesn’t really fit the mold of a middle-inning reliever. He could be a late-inning guy, but he’d still need to get his walk rate down to fill this role. Maybe he could become a one-batter specialist? He comes into the game in clutch situations and either gets the guy out or walks him, and then he’s done.

  • Idaho Razorback

    I love the idea as Volstad as the stopper!

    • Cubbie Blues

      Forget stopper, I’d settle on Volstad just being average. At anything related to the mound.

      • Jay Anderson Jr

        Volstad has good stuff, but it seems he doesn’t know how and when to use it. If he can pitch in one inning, he may be able to use it better. I think he come become a great late innings guy.

      • Drew

        Based on stats that actually tell you something, your wish has already come true

        • hansman1982


  • DocPeterWimsey

    Statheads have been saying for years that a scheme that we’d call “Closer by Committee” is the way to go.  However, there are not many managers with the savvy to really get what the statheads want.  (“Closer by Committee” is a catch all phrase for innumerable tactics, after all.)  Maddon might.  However, even he is going with “the hot hand”: he’s given Rodney almost all of the save opportunities while riding Rodney’s LaHairesque hot-streak.

    • SirCub

      I don’t see why this isn’t done more often. Riding the hot hand, looking at head-to-head numbers, playing the matchups, etc. They do it for every other inning, but all of a sudden in the 9th, it’s like logic no longer factors into the decision. I think having a definitive closer is fine if you have a definitive closer (eg, by far the best pitcher in your bullpen), but otherwise, it’s just stubborn.

    • KyleNovak

      While it’s completely valid from a statistical standpoint, the “closer by committee” is going to have to overcome * a lot * of entrenched ideology:

      1). The last portion of most linear events is usually the most intense. This is true for events spanning many aspects of life, including concerts, movies, athletic contests, etc. In athletic events, everything is magnified in the waning minutes (calls by the officials, moves made by the manager/coach, each individual play, good or bad, by each player). The end isn’t always the most important (a song in the middle of a concert could be the best by far, a 12-0 run in the 3rd quarter of a basketball game could sway the game, etc.), but people will talk about remember the end of something first and foremost.

      2. Ego. Let’s face it, the players (and agents who represent them) are guilty of perpetuating this problem. They’ll claim that their guy “is meant to be a closer” and “can only pitch the ninth,” when the roar of the crowd is highest and the finality of the game is apparent. They’ll talk about what heavy metal/hip hop track will be blaring and what scoreboard animatronics will be flashing when they walk/strut/run/breakdance in from the bullpen, sporting goofy glasses and ridiculous old-timey facial hair. And they want the stats. Saves are flawed, but they mean buxx, plain and simple. Until we can replace it with something that is applicable to any inning in relief (Fangraphs has a “shutdown” stat they are heavily lobbying for), many good relievers will only want to pitch the ninth to get that save.

      Until GMs start offering to pay pitchers way more money to perform throwback Goose Gossage-esque work in high leverage situations anywhere from the sixth inning on, and the managers use them as such, it’s just going to be more of the same s**t, different day in regards to closers.

      • Mike Foster

        Interesting post… I like it.

  • Brian

    3-0 sliders. Does the catcher not have a part in this also? Was Marmol shaking off signs? Who calls the game anyway? After the first walk on 5 sliders, should Sveum\Bossio not have gone out there and told him and Soto exactly what was expected?

    • Smitty

      I have been wondering the same thing Brian. It seems to me that Bosio/Svuem fell asleep at the wheel yesterday. Hopefully they learned from that.

      • Joker

        I’d hate to play the conspiracy card, but part of me think Sveum and Bosio were just waiting for him to blow it again yesterday to justify yanking him out of the closer role. Player’s psyches seem to depend on “earning” and “losing” roles based on performance. What’s one more loss in a 90 plus loss season when you are justifying to the players that you either perform or lose your role? It’s short term sacrifice for long term gain – all in the name of establishing “The Cubs Way”.

        • Smitty

          Interesting take. I like that idea.

        • Mike Foster

          Agree, they let him hang himself…kinna like Wells. I like the way Sveum let’s his guy have a chance fix his own problem. It’s early enough to do that.

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    I wish the term “closer” would go away. I like “stopper”. Call the guy a “stopper” and you can bring him in in the 7th in a high leverage situation and no ego’s are hurt.
    Use Fangraphs shutdowns and meltdowns in place of saves and holds.

  • Kevin

    No more long term contracts, period! The upside is so small compared to the potential huge downside which we know all too well.

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Where would the cubs be with Yu Darvish and an average pen?

    • Sircub

      To be honest, I think they would be a legitimately good team.

  • Kevin

    Dump all non-producing players and their salaries , otherwise know as dead weight, and fill those slots with hungry and aggressive young players. Signing Kerry Wood, big mistake…. I think Theo was pressured into that one. i don’t care if others refer the Cubs as a AAAA ballclub as long as we’re pointing in the right direction.

  • Kevin

    The Cubs manager interview process:

    Theo: Will you do everything we tell you to do and take all the blame if it doesn’t work out?
    Ryno: Absolutely not!
    Sveum: Yes!

    Any questions?

    • TWC

      Oh, bullshit.  Man, some of you STILL have a Ryno = baseball god complex, don’t you?

      • hansman1982

        Ryno is SOOO good as a manager he got too many calls to interview for open managerial spots that he just ignored the hoopla and returned to his AAA job.

      • ty

        Ryne–Hall of Fame Cubbie-very successful managerial career so far–yeah-many of us like him. He knew the organization and not one reporter has been able to figure out why he has literally been ostracized from Chicago.

      • Spencer

        I don’t think that’s the reason Ryno didn’t get hired, but I do think that part of the reason Sveum got hired is because the front office told him that he may need to acquiesce to some of their requests in this shitty season.

    • hogie

      Pretty sure that there has got to be a reason he hasn’t gotten any of the other openings around baseball either. Let it go dude.

      • ty

        So Dude–what is the reason if you are pretty sure dude?

        • hogie

          You would have to ask the numerous general managers who passed over him, but I would assume that it does have something to do with that attitude. I don’t want to rip one of my sports heroes (I still have a poster of him hanging in my house), but by all accounts it seems that he has the ego of one of the greats as well. I don’t know the reasoning, but there is no doubt that the Cubs brass are not the only ones thinking that way.

          • ty

            Hogie–I have spent hours and days around Sandberg in S.T., Extended S.T., instructional league, and Fall ball. How many other H.O.F. spend hours in 112 degree Az sun hitting grounders and instructing youngsters from the Dominican and elsewhere. Most of our kids do not even care about his past accomplishments. He is quiet and very easy to converse with and I see no ego problem. He does remind me of Torre in being very careful while conversing and maybe he does interview poorly. Some of the worst staff I ever employed sure knew the interview process and vice-versa. It appears that Amaro will use him after Charlie retires soon and I regret we will lose another Cub great for awhile.

            • hogie

              I should clarify that what I meant by ego was more of a it’s my way or no way kind of attitude. You may very well be correct in stating that he may interview poorly, and again correct with the fact that a good interview does not make a good employee. However I don’t think that we should hold it over the management’s head one bit. He could turn out to be a great manager someday if he gets a shot, but the fact that he hasn’t been given one yet, hasn’t even really been seriously considered to my knowledge, speaks for something.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Well, some aspects of Sandberg’s managing past will be held against him.  In particular, he seems over-fond of Mauch-style small ball: and the successful GMs of the last decade have not been fond of such tactics.

                • ty

                  Doc–when he took Iowa to the playoffs that was a home run hitting contest every night. But other than that I would agree that he does not sit on a whoope cushion and wait for the long fly ball. He interviewed with Theo whose success is tied to power and Cardinals who had Pujols. He is surprisingly stern with players and really tough on umpires–neither do I have a problem with overall. I have met Theo numerous times and he appears modest but I question if he wants to share limelight–often we have to get older and accomplish beyond-then we can relax and employ a h.o.f. type.

    • Ivy Walls

      Kevin, that is how all exec to field manager’s things go. Sveum can only gripe up the chain, now he is working at the pleasure of his bosses, if they say do this he has to do that. Now once it doesn’t work out than he gets to decide what might work out in the meantime Marmol is sunk cost….bottom of the sea, got to move on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cubman87 Leroy Kleimola

    Thank God he’s out as closer.

  • Kevin

    The point was not Ryno, it simply suggests Sveum isn’t making all the calls.

    • Richard Nose

      Can’t blame everyone for thinking you were garggling Ryno on that one.

  • Dan

    Who cares who gets the closer job if the Sveum is just going to put Kerry Wood back in as the set-up man? Seeing him come off the DL yesterday, all I could think was, “there goes another wasted roster spot.”

  • Ivy Walls

    Blame, blame goes to the previous brass who thought and acted like the assembled baseball people in “Moneyball” for signing a high risk closer for 3 years. Marmol was lightening in the bottle but he was always a slider first, second and third while showing his very straight FB. I recall an article on slider relievers who notoriously burn out fast.

    The league just catches up. Hendry if had any forward thinking would have traded Marmol after his fantastic year in 2010 when he possessed a 3.0 WAR and still was relatively cheap. sure the blogosphere and talk radio would have screamed but they are always wrong.

    Dump him….DFA send a message that this is sunk money and Cubs got to move on.

    • Drew

      “Blame, blame goes to the previous brass who thought and acted like the assembled baseball people in “Moneyball” for signing a high risk closer for 3 years”

      -Wow…you really missed the boat on that concept.

  • Leo L

    Im not saying Ryno would be a good manager. But he did do well with the minor league teams despite a lack of talent. won games there. My point is that we cant say he would not cut at his a manager. you could talk about Svem not gettign the manager job in milwaukee even though he was already in their orginzation. why did they not hire him? sometimes you just need to right fit. Theo obvoiusly felt rhyno was not a good fit but he might be for somebody sometime . and if he succeeds i hope it is with the cubs.

  • VanSlawAndCottoCheese

    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.

    This is why I have bromantic thoughts about you.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I do what I can. And I, too, have thoughts.

  • Bobo Justis

    What a bunch of wimps from Brett on down, and by wimps I mean another word that starts with p. Dale Sveum won’t be showing up at any of your places of work to criticize your meaningless, pitiful performance, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t care. Do what the players have to do, turn the page. If baseball enhances your day, great. If baseball ruins your day, you need to reconsider how you are spending your days. Why do you think your opinions matter? I’m embarrassed just to know this circle jerk exists.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The amazing thing about the Internet? It’s optional.

      • Drew

        “The amazing thing about the Internet? It’s optional.”

        BN is the exception to that statement. The combination of high-level intelligent conversation and overall sex appeal of the BN community magically forces people to be drawn to the site.

    • TWC

      “Why do you think your opinions matter? I’m embarrassed just to know this circle jerk exists.”

      He says as he posts his opinion criticizing others.

      • ty

        Figure out the psyche of that poor bastard!

    • VanSlawAndCottoCheese

      What a bunch of wimps from Brett on down, and by wimps I mean another word that starts with p.

      Pimps? OOOH, please let me wear the glass lifts with the little goldfish swimming inside of them!

      • Jay Anderson Jr

        The shoes from “Im gone get you sucker.” Gotta love those.

    • Jay Anderson Jr

      I disagree with Brett and others on this site a lot. My question is why is he or anybody else a Wimp( or P word) because he has an opinion on something that is marketed to the public(meaning us) to make money, meaning a sports team. I think he does a great job with this site, no matter how much I disagree with him or any one else, as it is my favorite site on the entire internet. People on this site are nothing else other then Cubs fans who have opinions about the team. We come here to view those opinions and state our own. If you don’t care, then please leave.

      Brett, thanks for giving us all a platform to express our views.

      • TWC


      • Drew

        I never thought the day would come, but we are in agreement, Jay.

      • Spencer

        “as it is my favorite site on the entire internet.”

        You know there are websites that show boobies, right?

        I’m kidding.

        Kind of.

    • Spencer

      this comment made me giggle.

    • SouthernCub

      WOW…………just WOW??!?!!!!!!

  • Kevin

    Thank you Brett!

  • Leo L

    I have learned so much fom this site. it is my stress relelver. take a quick break from work to see what people are saying. learn a little about hte cubs and baseball. and sometimes get a chuckle from the comments. this circle kicks. and dont forget a about the marrissa miller

  • Keith

    Regarding Kerry Wood –

    I don’t chime in here very often (though I read the posts and comments religiously) but I had to chime in in Mr. Wood.

    There is no doubt that he is fragile and lacking the stuff he once had. However, he is an upstanding human being, member of the community and role model. This team is rebuilding regardless of what words they use and we have a lot of youth on the team (especially in the pen) with more to come.

    Wood can do so much mentally and image wise for these young players and that is not something you can measure with statistics or DL time. On this team, at this time, he is well worth a roster spot in my opinion. His impact on these players and their involvement as True Cubs is critical.

    He’s inexpensive, he’s positive and he is one of the very rare breed that truly do bleed Cubbie Blue!

    As a Cubs fan since birth (1969) – God Bless Kerry Wood

    And Brett – thank you for this site, it always brightens my day