Carlos Marmol bummed(Big Mea Culpa UPDATE: Below, you will see updates as I worked through where I screwed up on this story. Separately, I’ve written a long apology for failing to be fair. You can still read this story for posterity, but know that, had I an opportunity to do it all over again, it would be very different. For his part, Marmol told the media that he did not have any conversations today about possible trades, and is happy in Chicago and wants to stay. I take him at his word, and that’s that.)

Early in Spring Training, we learned that the Chicago Cubs, who’d already essentially traded reliever Carlos Marmol once before, told Marmol’s agents to expect a trade at some point during the season. Marmol, 30, is in the final year of his contract, and is making $9.8 million. At the time, he looked like an expensive luxury on a team not expected to contend.

Unfortunately for both Marmol and the Cubs, he now still looks expensive and is on a team not expected to contend … but I’m not sure anyone could characterize him as a luxury.

That said, the Cubs are still undoubtedly working the phones, or will be soon, to try and find Marmol a new home that might be willing to part with something – anything – for him in trade. And from the sound of an overheard meeting with his agents today, Marmol is eager to find that new home.

Because the Internet is for rumor mongering, and because newsworthy conversations you have in public are likely to be heard and tweeted by someone these days …

All appropriate caveats here: I wasn’t there. Scott may have misidentified or misheard. We don’t have the entire context for the conversation. Things are always more complicated than a few tweets, and, indeed, an entire conversation, can possibly convey.

That said … I have no reason to doubt Scott’s observations. The pictures he included seem legit, and the big guy in them sure looks like Carlos Marmol. He’s a relatively distinctive looking guy, and, to my eye, that’s Marmol. Further, the conversation relayed by Scott all seems plausible. It strikes me as odd to have a conversation like this in an apartment lobby, but these kinds of public conversations do happen all the time. It’s just that now, they’re even more public. (I tried to get a sense of what Paul Kinzer, the lead agent at Marmol’s agency, looks like, but I’m not really able to pick him out in either of the pictures, if he was even there. Sports agencies have lots of agents, and guys are typically just described as having X Face Guy as their agent, even if they work with lots of agents at the office.)

As to the substance, assuming everything Scott relayed was accurate, is any of it surprising? If I were Marmol, I’d want out of Chicago, too, given the struggles, the booing, and the knowledge that the Cubs have wanted to trade you for some time. It’s good to know that he’s on board with a trade, and probably won’t wield his partial no-trade clause too aggressively, but I’m not sure that that was ever really going to be the holdup. Similarly, it’s nice to know his agents plan to work hard to get him traded, but, again, there’s only so much they can do.

The reality is that we’re talking about a pitcher, formerly awesome, who currently looks like a shell of the guy he once was. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer has himself acknowledged that the Cubs rode Marmol hard for a long time, and his stuff is no longer what it was just a few years ago. Marmol has a 5.40 ERA in 15 innings of work this year, and he’s walked an unconscionable 7.8 batters per 9 innings. His K-rate – 9 per 9 – is the lowest its been since his rookie season, in which he was a part-time starter. He’s getting hit hard when he’s in the zone, and he’s walking guys when he’s not. It’s a terrible mix for a reliever, and regardless of his contract or desire to be traded, it’s hard to see any playoff contender even being willing to have him in their bullpen at this point. It’s too much of a risk, and the upside probably isn’t there.

So, at bottom, the “overheard” conversation doesn’t really offer us much beyond a curiosity. Marmol’s performance is what matters – not his desire to be traded.

UPDATE: Marmol denied to reporters today that he wants out of Chicago and is apparently upset that he was “spied” on. I would expect him to deny the report, and I’ve got no beef with that. I’m not thrilled with the implications now swirling out there that I did something wrong here by somehow soliciting this “private” information. A reader independently passed on newsworthy information to me, which he heard in a public space at his own apartment building, and then tweeted to me (and the world). It’s not hard to have a “private” meeting if you want to have a private meeting.

UPDATE 2: This has the decided feel of something spiraling a bit out of control, and, for that part, I feel bad. I’m not the kind of guy to be obstinate to a fault. If I screwed up here, I am willing to admit it. Given that the conversation was in public, Scott was in his own apartment building, and the information was tweeted out for the world to see, there’s still a part of me that wants to say I was justified. It’s newsworthy info, and I felt compelled to pass it on. I probably moved too quickly, though, and I think that’s the part that I screwed up. Saying now “well, it’s not like I could have called Marmol to ask him if it was true” is a pretty weak excuse. I could have asked somebody. That’s the link in the chain where I probably failed.

UPDATE 3: Getting more feedback, I’m starting to see where the disconnect is, and where folks (fairly) feel like I failed. When I write something like this, to me, the story is “X person is saying that he heard Marmol say X.” I apply all caveats so that the reader understands it is to be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s still very interesting to hear. As the site has grown, however, that’s an unfair shield to hide behind. Because now, when I write “X person is saying that he heard Marmol say X,” it is read as “Brett says that Marmol said X.” I can’t ask to be held to any kind of professional standard and then hide behind the shield of “well, gee, I was just saying what someone told me.” I still think this was newsworthy info that should have been shared in some form. But there was a process I should have followed, however difficult it might be for an outsider, and I didn’t have the foresight or professionalism to follow it. It’s appropriate that I’m updating you in this fashion, given the meta issues involved here – you’re watching me come to terms with a fairly serious screw-up in real-time. It isn’t particularly fun, but I owe it to you.

UPDATE 4: The official word here, from Marmol, himself, is that he never said these things, and “[is] going nowhere. I’m very happy here. I can’t wait until they do something so I can stay here. I always talk about how I love Chicago, I love being here, I love my teammates, I love everybody here.” That is per Carrie Muskat, and I take Marmol at his word. That’s that.

  • itzscott

    Can ya blame him?

  • magilljl

    The feeling could not be more mutual.

  • Oswego Chris

    Cue thousand’s of people tweeting “WE can’t wait until he is out of Chicago”…only way I see it is Cubs eating all of the money, and then you get a fringy fringe prospect

    • Brett

      Every single response tweet has been some version of the feeling being mutual.

  • TWC

    How many comments before the first, self-righteous, “how DARE you publish this, Brett?! This is [a conversation in] a private residence, man!” freakout?

    • Spencer


  • chrisfchi

    The only way anything happens is if he starts pitching like an all star again. otherwise i don’t even think any team would give us a hotdog and a beer for him.

  • CCunt

    Barry Larkin’s cousin approves of this post.

  • corey costello

    Wait, who/here is this guy and how is he listening to this convo?

  • hansman1982

    The butt fits so you can not acquit…

    • J Wilson

      Great line. Classic.

  • TWC

    Is his agent Barry Kinzer? Or (disgraced agent) Paul Kinzer?

    • Brett

      Sorry, yes, Paul. He used to be Barry Praver’s client.

  • Cubbyboy13

    I don’t blame Marmol for wanting out. He’s either getting bood or hearing sarcastic cheers 100% of the time. I for one feel bad for him, as I do believe he is trying his best everytime out.

    • Dan Foote

      I never doubt his “trying”. I just doubt his mindset and his current ability (with that mindset). To me, he’s been getting worse and worse for several years. The last two years have made me want to just GIVE him to the Cardinals!! (No thank you needed from them). I don’t think ANY player is going to go out and not try. Some just try harder and have a better mindset.

      • Tommy

        I don’t tihnk ANY player is going to go out and not try.

        Dan, I’d like to introduce you to Ian Stewart.

        • Hebner the Gravedigger

          He said player. Ian Stewart is not player.

          • Tommy

            I have been corrected. Apologies.

  • Dan Foote

    I’d almost be happy if the Cubs just paid him to stay at home for the rest of his contract. Take him off the 40 man roster and pay him. For the past couple fo years I cringe every time I see a baseball in his hand and he’s even LOOKING at the pitcher’s mound. When he’s on, he’s ok (maybe even good). The problem is he’s seldom on and then he’s scary bad. Pay him to stay home and figure out what he’s going to do POST baseball (and away from the Cubs).

    • Grant

      I’ve been saying since the first week of the season (and again when Whitenack was picked up off waivers) that Marmol’s spots on the 25 and 40-man rosters are likely to be more valuable than anything he produces this year. I stick by that assessment.

  • forlines

    he can eat a hot bowl of d**ks

    • lukers63

      I don’t know if he would like duck….

    • Cyranojoe

      Hello Cardinal fan.

  • willis

    You can’t blame him for having those emotions, but I don’t want him taking the ball in crucial situations regardless, let alone knowing he doesn’t want to be here.

  • Ron

    “how DARE you publish this, Brett?! This is [a conversation in] a private residence, man!”


  • Tommy

    I find this very odd that this type of conversation would take place in a public place like this. Why on earth wouldn’t they be meeting in a home or apartment somewhere?

    • KD

      Right… why wouldn’t they actually go IN Carlos’s apartment? Not doubting the person who thinks he heard what he heard, it just doesn’t make any sense for a conversation like this to take place in a building lobby, of all places.

  • Mark S

    Off topic, but Soriano was named the 50th highest earning athlete in America by SI.

  • fromthemitten

    Paul Sullivan just tweeted that Marmol denied it (of course he did)

    • bbmoney

      Yeah he should deny it even if its true (which I’m pretty sure it is).

  • Michael

    On a shitty team, sure you let Marmol ride it out and work for his 9 mil. If this team was contending surely they would just cut him and pay him to stay home right?

  • Cyranojoe

    Surprised I’m the first to say this, but congrats on breaking this story, Brett! I wonder if it’ll get big-time coverage or no.

    Also surprised at the too-public nature of this meeting, but deep down it’s not shocking that Carlos wants out ASAP. Can you blame the guy? Have y’all seen the responses this story’s getting on BN Facebook? (And can I say, it’s all kinds of crazy when the anonymous forum has more mature reactions than FB you-are-named posts.)

    All that said, the feeling’s mutual here, too. Heck, I even wish him well, whether he leaves or no. Just please don’t pitch in the 9th for the Cubs ever again, man, and we’ll be good friends. :)

    Apropos of nothing, I find it funny how much that lounge space looks like what they had in my old apartment in downtown L.A….

    • Cubbie Blues

      I’m late to the party, but I think it might have been picked up.

  • hansman1982

    “I’m not thrilled with the implications now swirling out there that I did something wrong here by somehow soliciting this “private” information.”

    I will say this as politely as I can…

    Fuck them. The people swirling this around are just upset they didn’t get in on the “scoop”. This really isn’t different than when a story leaks from a FO trade discussion.

    Props to you Ace.

    • Cyranojoe

      Absolutely. Anybody who’s got a problem with anybody, let alone a news site, posting newsworthy content from a reliable source who provides photos of a NOT PRIVATE meeting… jeeze, come on. I’m tempted to make a ridiculous suggestion that such people would prefer state-run media over a free press, but I’ll refrain from hyperbole. Kind of.

      Icing on the cake is the professional “we can’t know for sure what happened” message that Brett included in the post, as he always does with uncertain but notable news of this nature. That’s good journalism there, in my opinion. An opinion that may actually have *some* value in this case, seeing as I got my M.A. from one of the better J-schools out there. LOL.

    • Webb

      I shared a snippet of my thoughts on this via twitter, and I don’t think my comment was overly righteous or damning. I personally think you hold this site to a very high standard, and enjoy reading up to that standard on a daily basis, year-round. My only issue with this type of “journalism” (you refer to yourself as a blogger, not journalist, and this is a blog post, not a publication) is the grade at which it qualifies as such. I visit this site for thoughtful discussion on the Cubs franchise from top to bottom. In my opinion there is no better Internet site for such content than this one. While there is no question reports such as this are spread across the Internet like wildfire every-half second, I think the important question is whether or not you feel you should be an instigator for such behavior. You didn’t solicit this information, it was offered to you. You decided to blog about it. Did you really need to? Given where the meeting took place, the nature of the half-heard conversation and distant cell phone photographs (not to mention the fact that nothing said is really shocking anyways)?

      Paul Sullivan reported something like this once. Does that make it right? More importantly, do you really want to be like Paul Sullivan?

      Just one man’s opinion.

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  • gordon comstock

    You print something supposedly said and then passed on to you from a reader of yours? Do you not corroborate? What happened to 2 independant sources before running with a story? Sir, you soil the notion of aggressive journalism and perpetuate a disgraceful pattern in contemporary story telling.

    • Cyranojoe

      B.S. Independent sourcing is not possible in this case. At most, Brett could have reached out to Marmol’s agent, who would have ignored him. Would’ve been good practice, but doesn’t change the resulting article beyond adding a meaningless “No comment from the agent/player” sentence.

      • Cyranojoe

        *Possible should be plausible, probably.

      • Cyranojoe

        That said, nothing’s keeping you from reaching out to the agent and/or Marmol now, Brett! Who knows, maybe he or some representative actually talk to you…. Would be a stellar opportunity for them to manage the PR fallout, by being reasonable in dealing with the blogger who “broke” the story.

  • ssckelley

    I am grateful I am not Scott Hutchison. Not sure I would appreciate passing on info to Brett and then later find my tweets posted on this site.

    • TWC

      Yeah, except for the part where Ace asked him if it was okay to post it and he said “absolutely”.

      But, you know, assume the worst if it’s easier for you.

      • ssckelley

        I just seen the entire conversation, you are right Brett did check first.

        • Cyranojoe

          It’s also a public convo.

          Scott might want to make sure he doesn’t get kicked out of his apartment as a result of this, though…

  • nkniacc13

    Camp, Marmol or Stewart who is the first former Cub?

  • Aaron

    I don’t see why you’d need to consult anyone first. You aren’t publishing a major newspaper here. I like that we can analyze and discuss items like this. You clearly described the pitfalls of this type of report in the article itself and it carried a very strong “take this for what it is” tone in my opinion. I see no fault in it. Naturally, Marmol or his people will feel irritated by this and try to spin it like they have. I think you’re doing your job and they are doing theirs. Keep up the good work!

  • cubbyblue

    To me this is kind of walking a fine line of journalism. I will be as happy as the next guy when Marmol is gone but sometimes it simply isnt accurate information and it gets spun out of control. I enjoy speculation on trade rumors and different information that comes out but to me this is sketchy at best

  • brobots

    is it just me, or is this really getting blown out of proportion because of the pictures. if this rumor got started, and Brett posted about it, would there be this much excitement?

    Doesn’t it just…make it MORE real now?

    Also, to those clamoring for corroborating sources, and cross checking – dude is a blogger. This is exactly what bloggers can and should post, because they can.

    • cubbyblue

      You are absolutely right brobots. You can write whatever the hell you want but it doesn’t make it accurate or responsible.

    • Cyranojoe

      Amen, brobots, especially about being a blogger. And for that reason, we as consumers of media (blogs and otherwise) need to accept *our* responsibility to not lose our shits because somebody posted some pictures and very clearly hearsay comments!

    • Blublud

      Blogger, reporter or etc., if you write an article for public consumption, you should be responsible in what you report. If marmol wants to sue Scott for defamation, brett could also possibly be held accountable for not confiming the source. Also, did he attempt to reach out to Marmol or his agent for a rebuttal. He didn’t report it, so I doubt it. You should always attempt to allow the other sides point of view before reporting something.

      • Blublud

        Not saying a defamation lawsuit would come out of this. This is pretty petty.

      • TWC

        “if you write an article for public consumption, you should be responsible in what you report”

        Reread the entire post above. How many caveats did Ace include? *Many*.

        “If marmol wants to sue Scott for defamation…”

        Hahahahahahaha. You’re insane. And obviously not a lawyer.

        “did he attempt to reach out to Marmol or his agent for a rebuttal”

        Hey, Carlos, there’s a blogger on the phone for you. You wanna talk to him?


        • Blublud

          Lets just say I told Brett I seen Marmol cheating on his wife, brett reports it and cause Marmols wife to leave, Marmol could sue me for assaulting his character and Brett for profitting off that lie. I don’t need to be a lawyer to know that. While this is not on that level, if Marmol is affected by this rumor, he could sue.

          • Norm

            And I thought your posts on prospects were insane…

          • ssckelley

            But would you get sued if you seen Marmol cheating on his wife in a public place, and had pictures as proof?

            Shame on Marmol and whoever was with him for having this conversation in the lobby of an apartment building.

  • Die hard

    This is as bad as DOJ taking AP phone records

    • Cyranojoe


  • Blublud

    Brett, I completely respect your work, but I have to agree that you shouldn’t have reported this. I could send you an email with a picture of a player I seen in a restaurant and tell you he said something that never came out of his mouth. If it had been in a bullet style “BNers such and such says he heard such and such” and you kept it moving, it would be ok, I guess. However, you should probably never report something in a post like this that one of your readers tell you they heard if that person doesn’t work for you or connected to a player or team. I’m not saying Marmol or scott is lying, I just don’t think this is a professional journalism.

    • cubbyblue


    • ssckelley

      But is Brett a Professional Journalist?

    • mjhurdle

      the difference in your scenario is that Brett would be taking a private discussion (email to one person) and making it public. In this case Brett took a public conversation literally viewable by anyone on Twitter to see, and commented on it.
      To make your analogy work, you would have to email Brett, the USA Today, and the AP. And then have Brett put it on his site.

      • Blublud

        The source of communication isn’t the problem, the source is the problem.

        And yes, I consider Brett a very good and professional journalist.

  • ssckelley

    Honestly I can’t blame Marmol for wanting to get out of Chicago, it has been a rough time for him as of late. I think a fresh start in a new city is exactly what he and the team needs.