Early Cubs camp questions: Marmol fixed? Samardzija delusional?

Early Cubs camp questions: Marmol fixed? Samardzija delusional?

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.



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  • Tom, we were there at Fitch yesterday,,Marmol looks to be in better shape than last season..I'm with you, I think once the Cubs get him straightened out a bit he'll be gone..I wouldn' be surprised if it's this season.,

  • I think it's safe to say that if Marmol can get back on track, he's gone. If he can get back to what he was a couple of years ago when he was blowing people away, he'll be gone by the July deadline.

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    I'm looking at that picture of Samardzija, and for some reason, "Waynes World" comes to mind.

  • QT @GordonEdes: Theo compensation deal 'close,' with Sox receiving one quality minor leaguer in return from Cubs, according to MLB source.

  • In reply to Cliffy46405:

    Ciffy, he's been probably the most reliable of the Boston media in regards to anything Theo/Cub related all offseason... Hopefully it's an A ball guy

  • Suppose that the compensation is McNutt, and I really hope that it isn't, does that make it more likely that the Cubs will trade Garza, Marmol and or Dempster in order to restock their pitching prospects?

  • If indeed Marmol was throwing a "bad cutter" last year, then the inability of Quade/Riggins to either recognize it or stop Marmol from throwing it only re-emphasizes the ineptitude of last year's coaching staff.

    As if we needed more evidence ...

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Well said! Though I 'spose this will upset Quade if he reads it. Tsk. Tsk.

  • According to the story on the Cub site, the next line after "...worst question I ever heard" was "It's about the team first," Samardzija said. "When it comes down to breaking for the season, you're going to do what's best for the team. Personally, I have my own goals and where I feel like I want to be but as a team, when it comes down to Game 1, it doesn't matter. All that matters is what your role is that they gave you that day and you go from there."

    It was a bad question because it asked what he would do if he did not make the rotation as if he was going to quit or demand a trade or commit suicide. No story here, move along, nothing to see here...

  • In reply to bruno14:

    Bruno don't believe that crap he was selling you, I was told by an espn guy yesterday that he was terse and cocky about it. I read through the sound bite shit at times and I believe this guy thinks he is deserving of a starting role. Now that being said the question was stupid.

  • In reply to bruno14:

    OK maybe I put too much into that post that was my own understanding so I updated it a bit.

  • Samardzija is indeed delusional if he thinks that hair looks good...

    Maybe he can pull a reverse Samson and gain power (control) from his shorn locks (cut his damn mullet).

  • I have read that Marmol was grossly overused over the past few years, including last season. Wouldn't that be the most likely explanation for his trouble last year? The Cubs rode him into the ground in 09' and 10' in a last chance grasp at competing for the playoffs, and for some reason the FO allowed him to be overused again last season too. That overuse makes me suspicious that he will regain his form for the entire upcoming season.

    As for Samardzija, he would be so much more valuable to the Cubs as a good starter rather than as a reliever. I would really like to hear a report regarding if he has developed a reliable third pitch or not, as his potential success as starter hinges on that question.

  • From multiple articles i read, that Samardzija part is way out of context. He said he wants to start, but will do ANYTHING he's asked to do. The reporter started to ask if he would have a problem going back to the bullpen, & he was offended by that- and i agree. He said, if asked a preference, he would love to start. But he will do anything they ask him to do. I completely agree with how Samardzija handled it. Plus, i'm hearing NOBODY has worked harder than him this offseason. Sveum & Hoyer says this guy is on an absolute mission.

  • In reply to MikeyB:

    Mike I see your point and I have updated the post to put my thoughts into a more constructive question, but I still think he feels a bit entitled, hard worker or not. I think the contract may sometimes cloud some minds.

  • Mike, I don't question his desire and maybe I'm taking too many other things into account (things I hear) but I think they see him as a pen guy. It may have been too harsh of a judgement on my part, but I am vibing that he feels entitled to a shot at rotation.

  • It's all going to depend on how he handles a pen role if he indeed goes there.

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