We’ve all prayed long and hard to be delivered from the madness that is Carlos Marmol. If Bruce Levine is right (not betting on it), the Chicago Cubs are likely to trade their up-and-down closer before the start of the regular season. What’s the scoop, Bruce?
Several teams, including the Detroit Tigers, are taking a hard look at the reliever, according to league sources, with the regular season just three weeks away. Detroit is going with 22-year-old rookie Bruce Rondon as their closer, replacing Jose Valverde who is a free agent.
Marmol will earn close to $10 million this season and can opt for free agency in November. Marmol can veto a deal to four West Coast clubs, but a source said Marmol would most likely waive that clause knowing he would be traded to a contender.
Remember when, for two hours, we thought Carlos was headed to Anaheim for Dan Haren? Those were the days. Levine also says that Kyuji Fujikawa will inherit the closer role should Marmol be traded. Outside of the starting rotation, the biggest hole in the Cubs lineup at the moment is third base. Ian Stewart is still laid up with a quad injury, and we all know how Dale Sveum feels about him anyway.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it would be a big question,” Sveum said before a 6-3 loss to the Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. “There’s just not that many at-bats. You have to be very productive in those at-bats. (Luis) Valbuena’s obviously playing and doing a really good job.”
So Dale still has his Valbuena Valboner. Looks like we’ll be seeing plenty of Luis, even if Stewart manages to make the team.
So what will Stewart do if he’s cut loose so the Cubs don’t have to pay his full $2 million salary?
“That’s the last thing I want to really think about,” Stewart said. “I had such a great relationship with Theo and the front office over the winter that I trust them. (I) trust the fact that they brought me back here to be a part of the team, whether that’s April 1 or…hopefully I don’t have to start the season on the DL, or even with another team.
“I just trust them that everything we talked about before I came back to the Cubs is what they believe in.”
Oh, Ian Stewart. What are we going to do with you? One player we don’t have to worry about this spring is Joe Mather. But Brian Bogusevic showed up in his place.
“He’s been the Joe Mather of camp so far,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Bogusevic, who was batting .533 in eight games.
A left-handed hitter, Bogusevic could be valuable, especially if he could not only play outfield but backup at first if needed.
“The at-bats he’s put together, the at-bats he’s had against left-handed pitching [have been good], and he has a pretty good track record in the big leagues as a pinch-hitter as well,” Sveum said. “He’s the leader in camp right now with everything. I’ve been impressed with his outfield play, his arm. I know he can play the outfield, so I’m going to get him as much time as I can at first base. He said he’s not super comfortable there.”
His pretty good track record as a pinch-hitter last year was .242. He hit .203 overall for the Astros. His career average pinch-hitting is .280.