The Cubs have had it with their overpriced and under-performing sometimes-closer, Carlos Marmol, as they designated the one-time All-Star and blood-pressure-inducing reliever for assignment. Over the years, Carlos Marmol has made himself an easy target. When you can lose a game with a multi-run lead without giving up a hit, well, you sort of bring that onus on yourself. But let’s not all put our Carlos Marmol targets up at the same time. However bad he may have been this year, and selectively throughout the years, he has had some pretty good seasons (and spurts over other seasons) which should be noted before he is cast off into Minor League hell – or whatever terrible fate lies ahead of him (6th inning guy for the Astros, maybe?).
No one will deny that Carlos Marmol was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character that should have probably had a starring role in Transylvania 6-5000 more than one in any MLB bullpen over the last season or two. The guy was so off and so on whenever he wanted to be, it was a carnival ride whenever his number was called to come into the game. Marmol, whose infamous slider goes from the right-handed hitter’s batter’s box to the complete opposite side, also has moments that have left even managers like Lou Piniella speechless. Here is a guy who regularly threw in the mid-90s, had a devastating slider, was nearly unhittable for his entire career (.185 batting average against), yet no one wanted the guy when the Cubs made him available recently. Why?
Accuracy. Check out this Fangraphs memorial, if you will, detailing his lack of said accuracy. Marmol, who owns the record for the tenth-most strikeouts in a season by a pitcher who solely pitched in relief (138 Ks in 77 2/3 innings in 2010, with the highest strikeout rate of any of them) also once led the National League in hit by pitches- as a reliever. His career stats are all over the place, along with his pitches. Overall, he walked more batters than he gave up hits to. For you non-baseball fans, this is an anomaly. This lack of accuracy is what allowed him to have such a low BAA and great strikeout rate. Because, simply put, hitters would just not swing against the guy. Recently, this made him less of a dominant pitcher and more of an erratic one – something no salary is worth stashing on your bench for.
In defense of Carlos Marmol, the guy had a solid five year stretch (2007-2011) where he was a talented set-up man and closer. Over that span he averaged 108 strikeouts/season, which is something all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera did only once in his illustrious career. So the brilliance was there to get a guy to swing and miss, but the mentality never was. In no way is this written in support of Marmol needing to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. But, take a look back at his accomplishments as well as his complete mental breakdowns over the years. He actually has a story to tell, and it’s a semi-impressive one. Right?
(Even lefties had no chance when his slider hit the zone)