Monday, March 30, 2009

Lou picks Gregg over Marmol as closer

If you didn't see this coming, raise your hand.

The Cubs closer competition may not have been close after all. Maybe they were humoring Carlos Marmol. Or so, that's what he thinks.

"They knew what they were going to do before I got here," said Marmol on Sunday after losing out to former Marlin RP Kevin Gregg for the Cubs closer job. "That's why I say there's not competition."

To Marmol's credit, he jumped on the backward bicycle and made nice: "I guess we're going to get ready for the season, no matter what. You'll see the same smile. I'll be the same guy."

Good soldier.

Here's all that Marmol did in mostly setup duty last year in 87 1/3 IP: 2.68 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 114 Ks along with 7 saves. 

Sure, Gregg has converted 62 of 77 save chances the past two seasons with the Fish, but even he sounded a little surprised to get the nod: "Marmol's ability to get five or six outs, it's crazy just to watch him go out there and he dominates lefties and righties."

But you had to know this was in the works:

1). Lou Piniella loves experienced closers. Ding.

2). Marmol all but forfeited his chance when he went on a 3-week hiatus to pitch for the Dominican Republic in the WBC (you didn't see Derek Lee leave camp, with Micah Hoffpauir breathing down his neck?) 

3). This takes the pressure off Marmol, the closer of the future, and the second Gregg blows two saves in a row, Lou will start massaging Marmol's shoulders.

Sure, Gregg has been nearly perfect this spring, has passable closer stuff and can get you close to a K an inning, but he doesn't have the out pitch or the dominance that Marmol possesses. And doesn't throw near the smoke.

Just listen to him and see for yourself:

Fantasy Spin: By all means, take your finger off the drop button. Unless you are stocked with plenty of sure-fire closers on your team, try to find room for Marmol. Consider this: In 2008, with only 7 saves and 2 wins, his other numbers were so good, he was ranked as the 10th most valuable RP by Yahoo! What's the over/under that Marmol takes over closing duties by June 1? I'd say 40 percent. And 60 percent by July 4. And don't rule out a spot save chance every two weeks or so. This isn't one of those deals where the closer will get chance after chance, while the manager spits out his Big League Chew excess in the nearest dugout spittoon. All it's gonna take is any Gregg injury or a small stretch of bad road and Lou will make the switch. He's just making this interesting for fantasy owners.


Brent (Marlin Fan) said...

Clark Kent/Superman on the mound as long as he informs his manager if he's ailing. He almost single handedly kicked the Marlins out of contention by blowing saves when his knee was hurting. Didn't bother to tell Fredi Gonzalez till later. He's learned his lesson now though.