When he met with the media yesterday, Chicago Cubs General Manager was understandably asked about reliever Carlos Marmol. He’s been a visible part of the organization for so long, and such a polarizing figure, that in his walk year (a year in which he’s making $9.8 million), he’s simply going to be discussed a whole lot … even if his ability as a reliever and his attending trade value have long since sunk to a level that he would otherwise barely merit a mention.
Still, it was surprise to see Hoyer answer questions about Marmol’s ineffectiveness in such a blunt and damning way, even if he didn’t quite mean it to be.
“Carlos has had a really long track record of success here,” Hoyer told the media (you can see his quotes here and here, for example). “I think he has a number of more appearances than any other pitcher in baseball over the last four or five years. This team has expected a lot out of him for a number of years and ridden him really hard over the last few years. Some of that has probably taken its toll. His fastball and slider aren’t what they used to be but in part that’s because he’s been really durable and ridden hard by a number of managers here.”
Wow. If you’re keeping score, that’s two “ridden really hard”s and one “his fastball and slider aren’t what they used to be.”
Both of these are things careful observers have long already known, but it’s still jarring to hear Hoyer vocalize it. Which is not really a criticism or a compliment of Hoyer – usually, he, like his boss, is the master of spin. Sometimes that spin is useful and thought-provoking, and other times it is transparent bunk. In this instance, I suppose, if Hoyer had tried to spin Marmol’s obvious and visible struggles into anything more than the reality of what’s happening, it would have been the worst kind of transparent bunk.
So he played it straight: the Cubs for years rode Carlos Marmol’s arm as hard and as much as they could, and now he no longer has the stuff he once did. There is no surprisingly great July trade coming at the end of this road for the Cubs.
Carlos Marmol was very good for the Cubs for a long time, and that’s going to have to be enough.