There haven’t been a lot of interesting reports coming out of Cubs camp thus far but there are a few items worth talking about.
Has the new staff already fixed Carlos Marmol?
I told you a couple of weeks ago that the Cubs had a "come to jesus" talk with their closer and let him know that his “Vegas Carlos” look wasn’t appreciated by the new management team. Uncoincidentally, there are reports that Marmol has lost about 10-15 pounds since last season.
Dale Sveum and Chris Bosio have also taken Marmol’s apparently bad cut-fastball out of his repertoire. It seems pretty clear they think that pitch was a major contributor in Marmol having mechanical issues last season.
On Sunday, Marmol threw his first side session under the watch of new Cubs manager Dale Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio and made them laugh. The topic was Marmol's cutter. Last season, when Sveum was the Brewers hitting coach, he would study video of Marmol to prepare for the Cubs-Brewers series. Sveum couldn't figure out what the heck the right-hander was throwing.
"We were thinking, 'What is he doing? Is that just a bad slider?'" Sveum said.
"Chris Bosio has talked to him about a few mechanical things about his shoulders and keeping his shoulders level and things like that," Sveum said. "He wants to lean back and crank velocity and create arm strength through his shoulders, and then he gets out of whack. It's more just keeping his shoulders in line with the strike zone. I think that will help him tremendously.
The one thing I can’t shake in my mind when it comes to Marmol is that he is 29 and makes a lot of money as a closer for a team that may not contend any time soon.
I just have a feeling he won’t be around when the Cubs do contend again.
The other issue is Jeff Samardzija and his apparent insistence that he is a starting pitcher.
I have no issues with his competitiveness and desire. However, Samardzija doesn't have a great attitude towards the bullpen .
Samardzija is so locked into being a starting pitcher that just the mention of the bullpen drew a terse response Monday.
When it was noted that if the rotation doesn't pan out there is always a relief role available, Samardzija stopped the comment in its tracks.
"The worst question I've ever heard," Samardzija said.
It surprises me that a guy who's only real success he has had in his career is out of the pen is so locked in on starting.
Some scouts have told me that he lacks an effective third pitch to be a starter. They do like his stuff out of the pen though, and some feel he can be a very effective late inning guy, if not a closer if he could cut down on the walks.
His performance in the pen last season post All-Star break (3-0 with a 2.23 ERA) was impressive. I firmly believe that he could fill the eight inning role perfectly that the Andrew Cashner trade left open for him.