Thursday, May 3, 2012

Yet another problem with a Carlos

What do you do about Carlos Marmol?

"I'm not very good."
He has struggled for almost a year now and it doesn't appear to be getting any better.

Do you trade him at all costs, eating most of the $15 million or so that he is still owed?

Do you make him a middle reliever?

Do you place him on the DL with some mysterious ailment?

Do you bury him somewhere in the outfield and claim you never knew him?

Of course today was brutal and it is easy to overreact.

Players in the bullpen typically aren't "blocking" minor leaguers from a spot to prove themselves on a big league squad.  As a result, trading Marmol at all costs makes little sense right now.  This isn't Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano or even Geovany Soto...who were/are blocking some of the Cubs more promising prospects.  The Cubs have a lot of money invested in Marmol and it would behoove them to give him an opportunity to work out his problems so they can at least recover some of that investment in a trade for a prospect (or two).

At the same time, he should not work out these problems as the team's closer.

The Cubs don't have a pitcher who really could take over the role...but for a team that is this bad, the Cubs really don't have a need for a top of the line closer.  Between Wood, Dolis and Russell, the Cubs could probably make ends meet for the rest of the season.  Remember that if Marmol was pitching well, he'd be on the trading block and would, without a doubt, be gone by the trade deadline anyway, which would mean the Cubs would be in the same situation.

But what is wrong with Marmol?

I'm not an expert at examining PitchFX at this point...but I can tell you that his problems don't appear to be velocity related.  His velocity appears to be up over last season.  I could be movement related...there is some evidence that he has lost some horizontal movement on this pitches.  But it just simply looks like he can't throw strikes and hitters are not swinging at some of the pitches that they were in the past.  This results in what we saw today: 3 walks and no outs.

For now, the Cubs should be patient with Marmol.  Put him into a middle relief role and have him continue to work on his mechanics with Chris Bosio to get him back to some semblance of a decent pitcher.

Marmol isn't going to be a Cub for much longer regardless, but rushing to dump him isn't the right solution.