dale sveum carlos marmolWhen 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.

  • sven-erik312

    Very well said Brett. As always, you nail it buddy.

  • ETS

    How’s Dan Haren doing?

    • Cyranojoe
      • AJB

        That was by far his best outing of the season. He started pretty rough but seems to have turned it around a little.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Or bad pitchers don’t always suck, but have good outings less frequently than good pitchers. I’m betting on that.

    • Justin

      I really am curious to know what exactly Haren’s medicals showed to make the Cubs back out? I think a somewhat effective Haren would have much more value than Marmol, even if he was pitching well. Even if Marmol was lights out, he’s only going to have so much value given his track record of erratic/irritating pitching.

      • Alex

        There was a concern on Haren on his hip if I’m not mistaken. I can’t remember the exact article but it was a direct quote from Haren saying he’s always had the issue and he’s never been on the DL, he was shocked that it was the undoing of the trade.

  • Rich

    does anyone think or feel if we trade for Haren that we would NOT signed E- Jax ?


    • Cubbie Blues

      If memory serves me right we were in on both E-Jax and Anibal Sanchez. So, yes, I would say we would have.

      • Josh C.

        I read one article that stated that if they had signed Sanchez, they would not have signed E-Jax; for whatever that’s worth.

      • DarthHater

        Well, since failing to sign Sanchez, they haven’t signed anybody else that makes that kind of money and Theo says all the available money has been spent. Therefore, one of two things must be the case: (a) if Sanchez had signed with the Cubs, they would not have had enough money to also sign Jackson; or (b) Theo is lying.

        • Justin

          I really hope Theo is lying, which I am much more cool with than the Cubs having a lower pay roll.

        • hansman1982

          I’ll go with B. Had the Cubs gotten Haren, I think they still would have pushed as hard as they did for Sanchez.

          I’ve always thought that the money is there for the players Theo and Jed want.

          • DarthHater

            But Haren would have been less costly than either Sanchez or Jackson, because the Cubs would have been unloading Marmol’s salary, n’est-ce pas?

            • Justin

              Yep, I think it would have cost the Cubs around $4 mill to get rid of Marmol and have Haren. If they didn’t resign Stewart, it would almost be a wash.

              • Alex S

                I think, had the trade gone through, they would have pushed for Sanchez or Jackson all the same and probably still signed Baker as well, but probably would have foregone either Feldman or Villanueva depending on whether they were open to signing as relievers.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          This is wrong.
          Anibal Sanchez is making $8M in 2013.
          After that signing, the Cubs signed Villanueva for $5M and Hairston for $2.5M.

          There’s Sanchez’s salary for ya. No lies.

  • rickyp024

    random question, but why did the cubs/why do other teams send players to lower levels of minors for rehab assignments (ie: Fujikawa to AA for rehab assignment)? Sorry if that’s a stupid question, just curious.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Proximity and ease of getting back and forth.

      • rickyp024

        Makes sense, thanks.

      • WGNstatic

        Also, it seems weather can be an issue as well as trying to get guys to play in the MiLB’s home parks.

  • @cubsfantroy

    It seems more and more that “The Cubs Way” is making a million excuses for players who are not performing.

    This is the way I am seeing it, am I wrong?

    • Cubbie Blues


    • CubFan Paul


    • mjhurdle

      I would say that, in my opinion, that is the way of every baseball front office.
      He didn’t try to ignore that Marmol was pitching poorly, but he didn’t throw Marmol under the bus either.
      Regardless of trade value, i would think it would be a bad idea for a Front Office to crush every player that performed poorly, simply from a future FA point of view.
      What FA is going to want to sign with a team knowing that if you fall off, your own front office will be putting it all on you to the media?
      Maybe it is all Marmol’s fault, but part of being an organization that players want to play for would be the little bit of protecting a player that a Front Office can at least offer lip-service to.
      At least, thats how i see it.

  • Voice of Reason

    Is there a stat that would show that Marmol is pitching “well” for the Cubs this season?

    That way we can stand him up proudly next to our other pitcher who is doing “well”, Edwin Jackson!

    • Cubbie Blues

      No, there isn’t a stat that makes Marmol look good.

    • baseballet

      His ERA is lower than EJack’s, and opponents only hit .229 against him. He averages 8.5 Ks per game. That’s about the best I can do for you. All the other stats look shaky at best.

  • Rcleven

    There are no stupid questions.
    Give the player an opportunity to get his work in against an opponent. More like work study.
    Players will travel to the location(usually the closest) affiliated team of that origination with a higher level of competition(AA or AAA ball).
    If that doesn’t answer your question feel free to get more specific.

  • Robert

    Curious could Marmol clear waivers and be sent to AAA to work on his issues? What would the results if someone did claim him? If nothing else couldn’t we come up with a “strain” put him on the DL and have him do his “rehab” in the minors with out having to clear waivers?

    Just some thoughts.

    • hansman1982

      He would most certainly clear waivers. At this point, not sure that I would mind if someone claimed him and the Cubs let him go. We get nothing more than ~$7M in salary relief.

      • jay

        Nobody’s going to claim him and nobody’s sending a guy who’s making 10mil a year to the minors, not that they could without his permission anyhow. He’s not sucking a whole lot worse than half the rest of the bullpen, the light may go on like it did last year, you need bodies to get thru the games, and it’s not like this year was going to be worth watching anyhow.

    • Kyle

      Marmol can’t be sent to the minors without his permission because of both his service tiem and his no-trade clause, nor can he be waived.

  • Kyle

    They’re the masters of spin until it’s time to deflect some heat by being honest about mistakes previous regimes have made.

    • Cubbie Blues

      So, you are saying they are doing a good job with the PR portion of their job then.

      • Kyle


  • Cyberhog

    500 innings in 7 years is defined as being “ridden hard”?

    • hansman1982

      For a reliever, yes.

      For the last 7 seasons (2007-2013) Marmol has the MOST innings pitched of all relievers.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        …and he was put away wet!!!

  • DarthHater

    Somebody should explain to Marmol that this being his “walk year” doesn’t mean he’s supposed to walk everybody.

    • @cubsfantroy


    • Tom A.

      Maybe that same person could tell him it is good to throw strikes and much easier to throw strikes if you actually look at the plate and keep from falling off the mound so far towards first base.

  • LoneStarCub

    This has probably been discussed before to great length.

    Will the Cubs try and sign Brian Wilson?

    I know he had Tommy Johns Surgery last year and wont throw for any team until he is 100% from what I have seen.. Which apparently is around the all-star break

    Career 3.21 ERA 3 time all star…

    Seems with the all of the problems are bullpen is having they would be aggressive on getting him…

    If this has already been answered, id appreciate a link to the thread.. I could not seem to put my finger on it


    • Alex S

      I’m surprised the Cubs didn’t sign him considering the TJS.

      The joke’s a bit old, but I enjoyed it at least.

  • WI Jeff

    BN Fandom:

    May have missed it, but is there any news regarding Junior Lake in AZ. I would like to hear if he is taking batting practice and the possibility of a log jam in triple A with Stewart, Vitters, Lake all trying to get reps at third. Interested to hear about releases, trades, fillers on larger trades.

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers


    Just looked at this analysis of pitchers – MPH and Pitch selection percentage:
    Turns out sabermetrically minded teams must be (or at least influencing) pitch selection from their repertoire:
    Briefly these pitchers (among the top 60 MPH for Fastballs – didn’t do everyone) throw their gas the least:
    Yu Darvish, James Shields, Scott Feldman, Brandon McCarthy, Jeff Samardzija, Josh Beckett, Alexi Ogando, CJ Wilson, Clay Buchholz throw it less than 50% of the time.
    Edwin Jackson, David Price, Derek Holland less than 55%.

    So I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about what it means.

  • Chad

    I wouldn’t mind seeing his contract run out and then sign him for really cheap as a middle reliever; as long as he has a little something left.

  • cubzforlife

    I saw a change first hand in Marmol from 2009 to 2011. At K Woods bowling event old Marmol sat by himself, very conservative in his style of dress. New Marmol dressed to the nines with at least 3 carats in each ear. Was pounding shots with Zambrano and admiring the ladies. What stood out to me was the contrast in his clothes and jewelery. He became a player.

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