In early November, Carlos Marmol was traded to the Los Angeles Angels.
Well, kind of.
The Cubs and Angels agreed to a trade, and procured Marmol’s approval of the trade. The trade was subject to a usually perfunctory review of medical information. That review ultimately scuttled the deal, and Cubs Baseball President Theo Epstein had the unenviable task of telling the pitcher he’d just traded that the guy was still on the Cubs.
“It hurts when you think you are going somewhere and the next day they call you and say you are not traded,” Marmol told Bruce Levine after he arrived in Mesa. “That is hard for anybody. [Cubs president] Theo [Epstein] was great about it, telling me something happened that they didn’t expect to. He was very nice and calming because I was a little sad.”
Yeah. I expect that was an awkward conversation.
For his part, even though that trade fell through, Marmol isn’t sure where he’ll be when the season opens.
“I don’t know about that,” Marmol said. “They tried to trade me before. I hope I can stay here for the full year because it is hard to think about if you are going to be going somewhere else to pitch or not. I hope to stay here …. I don’t know where it stands for me. We will see what happens. I would like to stay here and sign for a couple more years. Right now I think we have a very good bullpen, and I would like to be a part of it all season.”
So, what happens now with Marmol?
Well, assuming his legal issues – which don’t sound like much at this point – don’t impact his trade value, I believe the Cubs will continue to shop him this Spring. Although he’s got a limited no-trade clause, he’s already accepted one trade, so there isn’t a reason to believe he’d block a trade at this time, despite his professed love for the Cubs. If he’s not in the long-term plans (and he’s almost certainly not), and if the Cubs aren’t going to be any good this year (and they’re almost certainly not), he’s likely to be content to move on. The only hold-up I can see from his end is if he’s going somewhere that he clearly wouldn’t be in line for any save opportunities (and the team is on his no-trade list (it’s only four teams, one of which is the Angels)). As a free agent after 2013, he’s going to want to pile up saves this year.
Will there be interest? Levine has always said there will be, but I’m not as convinced. If there are some injuries in bullpens around baseball, then definitely. But Marmol, despite his fantastic second half last year, is not viewed as a lock-down, sure-thing closer. Are teams going to go out of their way to acquire a guy like that in the Spring? Wouldn’t they be more likely to see what they can do with their own non-lock-down, non-sure-thing options in the first half, and then re-assess in July?
A lot of this depends on the Cubs’ asking price, of course. There’s a price at which the Cubs could move Marmol today, if they wanted. But I’m sure they’re expecting to get some value out of a Marmol trade, especially if they’re eating some of his $9.8 million 2013 salary.