When embattled Chicago Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol was designated for assignment last week, it seemed like simply the first stop on the way to Release Town. Sure, it gave the Cubs 10 days to release, waive, or trade Marmol, but a trade seemed a virtual impossibility given Marmol’s performance woes this year.
Well, a report from Bruce Levine shakes its fist at we of little faith. Two sources tell Levine that the Cubs are “closing in on a trade” that would send Marmol to the Dodgers.
Keep in mind, the return from the Dodgers – if this deal goes down – will simply be enough to buy them the first right to grab Marmol, since the Cubs otherwise would have released him (allowing him to sign with any team he wanted, rather than only the Dodgers). So there’s a teeny, tiny bit of value there, if the Dodgers think they can reclaim Marmol – and they do need bullpen help.
Levine adds that Marmol’s limited no-trade clause allows him to block deals to six teams, and that the Dodgers are one of those teams (makes sense, given that the Angels were also on the list, as we learned in the offseason). If Marmol believes he’ll be given a legitimate shot in Los Angeles to stick in the pen, I suspect he won’t block the deal.
We’ll keep our eyes on this one, but I’d still keep my hopes in check. There is no healthy Dan Haren on the other end of this trade.
UPDATE: Well, Peter Gammons seems to think this is happening, saying that Bruce Levine is “right again.”
UPDATE 2 (5:03pm CT): Jon Heyman confirms that the two teams have talked about Marmol, but there’s nothing official yet. He suspects the move might save the Cubs a little money, which is what you should be hoping for at this point.
UPDATE 3 (5:05pm CT): Carrie Muskat says the Cubs aren’t commenting.
UPDATE 4 (5:40pm CT): Patrick Mooney confirms that a deal is close, and that the Cubs won’t be getting anything but a little bit of salary relief.
UPDATE 5 (6:58pm CT): Dodgers.com writer Ken Gurnick says that if a deal goes through, the Cubs will be picking up “most, if not all” of the $5 million left on Marmol’s deal. He says the Cubs would be getting a player recently removed from the Dodgers’ roster – i.e., someone DFA’d like Marmol. In the last few days, the Dodgers have designed infielder Luis Cruz and reliever Matt Guerrier for assignment, so there’s your short list. They both fall into the maybe-not-even-worth-a-roster-spot category, which sounds about right. The Cubs might be figuring that, since each guy has had past success as a complementary piece, maybe they can take a hail mary at reclaiming some value in the next 30 days. It’s a stretch, obviously.
UPDATE 6 (8:10pm CT): Theo Epstein is on Dave Kaplan’s new show on WGN Radio tonight, and he just said that, yeah, a deal might be in the works involving Marmol and getting him a change of scenery. But, if it does happen, it isn’t going to be a significant deal.