carlos marmol yesIt’s no secret that, should the right opportunity present itself, the Chicago Cubs would be open to trading closer Carlos Marmol. Indeed, the right opportunity presented itself earlier in the offseason, and the Cubs agreed to trade Marmol to the Angels for Dan Haren. But medical concerns about Haren’s hip and back scuttled the deal, and the Cubs had the unenviable task of reminding Marmol just how much they appreciated him and wanted to keep him.

That said, very few expect Marmol to finish the 2013 season with the Cubs. He is a free agent after the year, and, as a closer on a team not expected to have all that many important games in need of closing, he’s something of a luxury that the Cubs would probably rather convert into young, longer-term assets. I’d imagine modest trade discussions about Marmol have continued at the periphery for the entirety of the offseason, with newly-signed set-up man Kyuji Fujikawa ready to slide into the closer’s role (and, in turn, have his own value increased) should Marmol be moved.

Enter the Tigers.

A team with obvious playoff aspirations after reaching the World Series last year, the Tigers would undoubtedly like to have no holes on the roster. Entering Spring Training, they had a glaring one at the back of the bullpen, which they told the world they planned to fill with a just-turned 22-year-old who has barely pitched above A-ball (Bruce Rondon). So far, the results haven’t been encouraging this Spring, and Danny Knobler reports that the Tigers have finally conceded that they’re going to need outside help. Sources tell Knobler that the Tigers are “pushing hard” to find a closer.

Knobler’s report doesn’t mention Marmol or the Cubs, instead focusing on the extra bullpen depth in Washington (but they’d like to keep it) and Boston (they could conceivably move one of Andrew Bailey or Joel Hanrahan). Perhaps, after dealing with Jose Valverde’s implosion, the Tigers are scared off by Marmol’s frequent bouts of wildness.

But, of course, those bouts of wildness are punctuated by ridiculous nastiness. And, as we’ve noted many times, after returning from the disabled list early last season with a mild hamstring issue, and after being told he couldn’t shake off the catcher and had to use his fastball more, Marmol put up a 2.66 ERA over his final 44 innings. He struck out 60 in those 44 innings, and walked just 29 (which, for him, is saying something).

In other words, that Carlos Marmol was a shut-down closer. He seems like a guy the Tigers should want, especially if they’re having trouble finding the right guy elsewhere. Marmol is set to make $9.8 million in 2013, and, although money may not be an issue for the Tigers, the Cubs would gladly eat some portion of that salary to make the return a little more exciting on their end.

Starting pitcher Rick Porcello, currently superfluous and starting to get expensive via arbitration, is likely to be mentioned frequently as the Tigers’ trade bait in talks with other teams. Although he’s disappointed in his young career, many feel his numbers could improve dramatically if he had a better infield defense behind him. Even though the Cubs have seven starting pitchers, they’re always looking for young, controllable talent (particularly guys with warts on whom they think they can “buy low”) like Porcello. If the Tigers proposed such a swap, I’m sure the Cubs would listen. Would the Tigers, though? Maybe they’d rather give up a couple good, not great prospects.

In any event, I’d think you would start to hear an uptick in Marmol/Tigers rumors over the next couple weeks, until the Tigers’ bullpen situation is resolved. They may ultimately go the cheap free agent route (Brian Wilson remains on the market, for example). But if they want to make a trade, Marmol makes about as much sense as anyone else realistically available.

  • Seth

    Personally I think the Tigers will sign Brian Wilson.

  • JR

    Didn’t Jim Leyland just throw a fit to the media about how he can’t believe Valverde isn’t signed yet? The TIgers might need a closer worse than anyone in baseball, but Leyland doesn’t understand how he is not signed. Whatever Jim…

  • MightyBear

    Marmol for Porcello. Pull the trigger everybody.

    • Rcleven

      I’d pull that trigger. I would think the Tigers would be way over paying for Marmol. Is Detroit that desperate? Cubs would have to eat a lot of Marmol’s contract. Still be worth it tho.

      • JR

        Even if the Cubs eat 100% of Marmol’s contract it’s a no brainer for the Cubs. I just don’t get the vibe that the TIgers trust Marmol after dealing with the Valverde’s tight rope act last year.

  • Tennessee Cub

    Brian Wilson? To much of a gamble for a World Series ready team. He is going to have to sign a one year deal to prove his health and it won’t be for a contender. Valverde, Hanrahan, or Marmol make more sense.

  • Jim

    They should just move Porcello to closer and see what happens.

  • North Side Irish

    I think that Marmol might be a little too shaky for the Tigers after suffering through Valverde last season. If the Tigers want to go with a closer with inconsistent command, they can just resign Valverde for cash rather than giving up assets for Marmol.

    The reports on Wilson after his workout for the Mets in January was that he was throwing in the mid-80s and is still trying to build his velocity back up. Sounds like more of a mid-season replacement than someone who can start the season as a closer.

  • DB Kyle

    Can’t see the Tigers being interested in Marmol. If they wanted talented, potentially dominant but unreliable, they’d just keep what they had.

  • Myles

    Slight nitpick, maybe: it’s a medical issue, not a medial one…

    except that medial also works!

    medial means, easily enough, situated in the middle. Since the physical is typically always in the middle of any actual deal, it is technically a medial part of a trade. I imagine you meant medical, though that’s interestingly not a typo.

  • Danny Ballgame

    I agree with everyone that Marmol has been wildly inconsistent, but who else is out there that has his stuff with any sort of consistency?

  • Fred

    A lot of talk about porcello, but how about drew smyly being brought up in these marmol trade discussions. Blister issue aside, smyly was pretty good in his first go-round in the bigs.

    • Brett

      Smyly is definitely very attractive – but given his contract situation (very pre-arb) and big league success, I doubt the Tigers move him for someone like Marmol.

  • Saving Grace

    Reports are circulating that Cano and Granderson will be suspended by MLB.(PED’S)
    This could really put Soriano or even DeJesus in play for the Yankees
    You’d be looking at what 50 games for Cano and 50 for Granderson after he comes back so he’d be out 4 months
    Have you heard anything on this Brett?

    Hopefully Theo is on the phone in Cashmans hosptal room

    • #1lahairfan

      Where are you hearing this?

    • dw8

      Source on these reports?

    • Saving Grace

      Heard it on WEEI sports radio Boston about an hour ago
      Buster Olney reported it i believe
      Ryan Braun also would be suspended

      • ETS

        but.. if it’s not on the internet then it doesn’t exist in real life, right? right???

        • BluBlud

          Its actually all over the internet, just not from any legitimate sources yet.

          • ETS

            Yeah, I see it starting to float around now.

            • cjdubbya

              If the timeline matches the Melky one, it’ll be broken by ESPN about a week into the regular season.

  • #1lahairfan

    Any trade ideas that do not involve Porcello?

    • Petrowsky

      For me, it is either Porcello or Smyly. No one in their system, outside of Castellanos, Garcia, and Thompson excite me all that much (which they won’t trade for Marmol). Maybe Collins or Crosby could turn into good players but the Cubs would have to get both of the two for me to be interested.

  • DPRagen

    If Theo can dispose of Marmol on terms more favorable to the Cubs than his outright release would be then perhaps he really is God come down from heaven to save the Cubs. Don’t hold your breath while waiting however.

  • Morken

    Despite his inconsistencies, Marmol remains an alluring option for a whole bunch of teams around the league.

    Unfortunately, my gut tells me that Detroit will sign an available free-agent. There seems to be some posturing going on between Valverde and Detroit.

    The deadline seems like the most likely time we’ll see Marmol dealt. Here’s hoping for a good first half out of Carlos!

  • ETS

    I’m just picturing this trade negotiation, “No, seriously, if you don’t let him shake off the catcher he is great! If we sent Castillo over there for a week to talk to prep your catchers on how to work him then could we make this work?”

    • Stevie B

      Good stuff, ETS

  • CubsFanBob

    So if the Cubs could work a Porcello-Marmol trade you would figure there would need additional pieces from either side ( beyond paying Marmol’s contract ). What other needs do the Tigers have ? and where could the Cub’s meet those needs ?

    • Morken

      The Tigers could use a utility-infielder. They currently boast Ramon Santiago, Don Kelly and Danny Worth, as backup infielders; not exactly reassuring options if either Peralta or Infante get injured for an extended period of time.

      Although it’s unlikely to happen, a Marmol/Barney: Boesch/Porcello swap, with the Cubs assuming most of Marmol’s remaing salary, isn’t ridiculous. Barney could be viewed by Detroit as their starting 2B going forward, hence, extended value.

      Just an idea.

  • CubsFanBob

    or maybe swap Watkins for Barney. Logan could go to the Tigers AAA as their future 2b or current / future utility infield options.

  • Mike Taylor (no relation)

    I would not include Barney in a trade w/Marmol to the Tigers and only get Boesch in return. I wouldn’t even go after Porcello, he has one more year of arbitration and struggled last year. Smyly would be a much wiser target, with only 0.010 years of MLB service time and higher ceiling.

    • tim815

      Like they’d give up Smyly for Marmol. they’re not idiots.

      If TheoJed pull that off, bronze a statue up, guys.

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  • tim815

    80 percent chance Marmol is the Cubs closer on opening day.