Cubs News and Notes: Marmol, Volstad, Campana

Cubs News and Notes: Marmol, Volstad, Campana

This rebuilding plan is perplexing for both the fans and media.

Looking around this week there are some questions worth visiting.

There are questions of whether Carlos Marmol should still be the closer.  Or why Marmol is still even a Cub?

Dale Sveum is sticking with Marmol not just because he is the best option at closer, but because he would ruin any chance of the front office moving him by making a change. At least Marmol’s velocity has been back up to that 94-95mph range.  That will make someone bite, you would think.

Marmol does makes a ton of money, ($16 million over 2 years) but maybe a contender becomes desperate enough to take on most of it at the deadline?

Theo Epstein really must curse out Jim Hendry on a daily basis. There isn’t one player that the Cubs can move without some type of money being eaten.

Phil Rogers wonders what to make of Chris Volstad so far:

Got to admit, I thought Chris Volstad was going to be better than he’s been so far. He’s 0-3 and the Cubs have lost all four of his starts, and on Wednesday one of his old bugaboos returned. Volstad was prone to serving up home runs with Florida, and David Freese’s 2-run shot in the sixth inning turned a good outing into a bad one.

Rogers admits it's early in the game still with Volstad, and he is right. Volstad should be given a very long leash. He has shown at least to be a back of the rotation guy and maybe more if they can get him out of the one bad inning habit.

There really would be nothing gained long term by replacing him with Randy Wells at this point.

Rogers says Tony Campana’s unimpressive 2011 stats (.259/.303/.301) were at least partially the result of being used in a difficult role and wonders if he can be a legit lead off guy  at the end of the day.

It’s good to have the speedster back in the big leagues. He’s getting a chance to play some with Marlon Byrd in Boston and he’s making the most of it. Campana, who was hitting .304 with a .355 on-base percentage in Iowa, is 5-for-9 with four stolen bases and has reached base six times in 10 plate appearances.

He had only 26 starts among his 95 games played, and that’s not enough to feel comfortable at the plate. He could be a very good part-time player but a manager has to be willing to sacrifice power regularly, giving him at least two or three starts a week. If he can find a way to get his on-base percentage to .350-plus, he can become the leadoff hitter who National League teams most hate to face.












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  • Thanks for the reasonable assesment of Campana. I am constantly defending him on Twitter with the haters.

  • In reply to Cliffy46405:

    Personally I want to root for Campana but I fear he just won't hit. I would love him to be able to get on base consistently!!

  • 9.8 million for Marmol in 2013, 7 this year.

  • Rosenbloom thinks the Cubs should get rid of Marmol? That's almost enough for me to want to keep him.

    In all seriousness, getting rid of him now doesn't help the Cubs long term plan at all. Cubs benefit most in the short term and long term if he turns it around.

    And if you think about it, you'd be replacing him with the 13th best MLB ready pitcher in your organization. How likely is it that that pitcher will be so much better than Marmol as to make any significant difference in 2012?

  • I don't think the problem is that we have Marmol--the problem is that we have him in the closer role. He is still a viable bullpen arm, and it seems to me the best way to get him on track would be to stick him in middle relief for 2-3 months and just let him relax and pitch and see what happens. I think he would go back to being a good relief pitcher, although he may never regain the dominance he once had.

    At the very least, he would be a decent middle reliever for us (albeit overpaid). At best, he will regain his old form and possibly generate some trade interest at the deadline (if we're willing to eat some of the contract).

    In the meantime, what would we do in closing situations? I would recommend using Russell. Not because he has dominant stuff, but because he has consistently gotten the job done since they moved him into the pen last year, and he has looked very good this season to boot. Unlike Wood, he can pitch often. Unlike the other candidates, he is consistently good.

    Sometimes, I think we make a little too much of the closer role. I think Russell would do just fine in that role as long as he didn't think of it as any different than coming in and pitching in the 7th.

    I don't think we're helping ourselves at all if we are in a big rush to trade Marmol. But that doesn't mean we need to utilize him as our closer.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Marmol pitching well in middle relief won't convince teams that he can succeed in a high leverage role, though. That's where any potential trade value lies. No one is going to want to trade for a $16M middle reliever no matter how successful he is.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    A contender might trade for him to use him as a set-up guy if we eat part of the contract. That might be the best we can hope for at this point with him. I can't conceive a contending team trading for a guy like Marmol to be their closer.

    I think if Marmol has an ERA in the 2's in middle relief, a deal could be worked out for a team who needs a set-up guy. With Marmol, in any conceivable scenario, we're going to have to eat quite a bit of that contract.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Set-up is still a high leverage situation, often even more so. Different than middle relief.

    When you move a guy down into middle relief your sending a signal to teams that you don't value his services. It'll be pretty hard to convince any team otherwise. A team's action speaks louder than words. It's a guaranteed sell low situation. Teams will just say, "keep him and pay $16M for a middle reliever" rather than given anything of value.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm with you John on Sveum and management continuing to trot Marmol out in high leverage situations - it is painful to watch as a fan this year, but the only way to maximize his value (and hence get better in the future) is to continue to showcase him and pray he gets better out there. Man its going to be a long summer!

  • In reply to Ryno2Grace:


  • In reply to Ryno2Grace:

    Agreed. And I get as frustrated as anyone else. I was at the game where he gave up the game-tying HR and completely let the air out of the place. But it's April and he has shown signs of pitching better. You have to give him a chance to recover. If he's still pitching badly in June, then you revisit the situation. It may well be that the Cubs end up taking a loss on this, but for now, you have to do what you can to try and avoid that. It's more important than a couple of April wins on a team that's going nowhere anyway in 2012.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree with John, Marmol has to stay in the closer role to trade him, unless Ricketts is willing to eat his entire contract.


    After the Byrd trade one of the top Cubs results on Google News was a ridiculous user posted article on Yahoo Sports complaining that the Cubs should have traded Soriano instead. Sure, and while we're fantasizing about unicorns and dumping mediocre overpaid players, why not insist on getting 3 or 4 blue chip prospects, plus a stud left tackle for the Bears in return?

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    It's never that easy for a guy to think about the 9th like it's the 7th. Baseball is very much a mental game and whether right or wrong, relievers say the last 3 outs are the toughest. I wish it were that easy, and think many overvalue the role unless you are a dominant closer.

  • Regarding Campana, I think it's good for the organization that he's getting a 1-2 month window to show us what he can do playing on a regular basis. I wish they would play him everyday during this window, instead of giving a bunch of starts to Johnson and Mather who have no long term future as regulars, because he does have a shot at being a future MLB regular--although it's far from a sure thing with him.

    I don't see Campana as a guy who will consistently be a good MLB regular from year to year, but I could see him having a similar career to someone like Scott Podsednik or Doug Glanville, who were both late bloomers and speed guys, and had some very good years but also some horrendous years. It's all just going to hinge on Campana's OBP and his ability to keep his legs healthy.

  • The Marmol questions might bring some guys back to the Sean Marshall deal. Today he gave up a two-run 9th inning lead (3-run homer), is 0-2, with an ERA over 6. It's rough all over.

  • Byrd is 5 for 16 with Boston. .313 batting average.

  • I like Byrd. Hope he succeeds over there. Maybe he needed a fresh start.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Now that Byrd is hitting, we should trade Marmol for Byrd. :)

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    Red Sux announced today that Carl Crawford will miss at least another 3 months with a strained UCL Could this have implications for the Cubs?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I don't see who they'd want. No way do they want to see Soriano or LaHair playing the green monster. I'd imagine maybe they'd be interested in DeJesus later but by the time the Cubs are ready to deal him, Crawford will be on his way back.

  • Gosh it's bad enough to have to read the horrible sensationalist writing at the trib site, but to have it regurgitated here is almost more than a guy can take!

    Seriously, I can't believe that Rosenblum, Sullivan, and the rest of the beat writers and columnists in town are actually as dense as their crap articles make them sound. I have to believe that they are writing annoying/controversial stuff just to get clicks to generate ad revenue. It's a shame that newspapers are dead, but they are, which is why we all come here for news and thoughtful analysis. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.....please.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Sorry CubsWin but I wasn't trying to agree with it in any way. It was an off day and I thought it would be valid to look around and see how even the media doesn't know how to process this rebuilding plan.

  • I don't see anything perplexing in the rebuilding plan... or in this article as a matter of fact. I agree that Campana would make a good leadoff hitter. DeJesus does too though, higher OBP, but he's not a basestealing threat. That's a big neg for that spot.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Carne I strongly disagree with that when it comes to the fans and some of the media. Many fans don't know how to process this plan. They aren't sure why we traded Marshall, they want (including myself) the older players gone, and they are confusing current results with long term evaluation. I've heard many fans say lets get Wells back up here instead of Volstad, and replacing Marmol at closer, etc.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    It's funny that the Chicago media is the biggest stumbling block to a winning Cubs franchise even now that they don't own them. I'm lucky that I'm sequestered in north Florida and don't have to listen to it. I can see how frustrating it would be to those of you who do. If it makes you feel any better, these are probably the same fans who thought Prince Fielder was a perfect rebuilding idea, and we all know what the media is nowadays. Luckily Theo and Jed knew this going in and said they weren't going to let it affect them. Their closed-lip tactics with the media should give us confidence they're sticking to this.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I think it's very silly to be asking if Marmol is the closer at this point.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Yes, or whether they should be bringing up Rizz or BJax, or that they should bench Soriano or Soto......these are all money-losing suggestions and the writers should at least discuss both sides of the decision. Though I'm not sure how bringing up Rizzo early in a 90 loss season is a good idea in any way whatsoever.....

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    It won't make any difference as far as service time for arb/free agency if the Cubs bring him up in late June or April of next year. His super-two may be affected, but that could be gone soon anyway. Rizzo will be up, but it probably won't be until after the all-star break.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The main problem in my view is more centered on what to do with two 1st baseman who can't play anywhere else. With one month of MLB history and a 29 year old birth certificate, LaHair isnt a trading asset. As far as I'm concerned LaHair and Rizz have very similar profiles (right now). Obviously Rizzo is younger and has more upside, but they are still minus one Cashner on this deal. If they sit LaHair, they kill any potential for extracting any trade value down the road, which appears to be the only solution to having two LH 1st baseman who cant rotate to the OF even if there was space for one of them.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    That is the problem with LaHair/Rizo but the Cubs have two things going for them if they do decide to trade LaHair. One is that scouts have come around on him and like him as a hitter -- this was even before his good start. The other is that he's cheap.

    A team that's a contender, especially one in a small market with a below average 1B will likely be interested. I don't know how much they'll be able to get for him, but I think he does have some value out there.

    The thing about LaHair is that if you keep him, he's 32 or so by the time the Cubs are contending. He's a non-athletic, late bloomer...the career arc will likely be a pretty steep one. When he starts to lose it, I think it will go fast.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think it's a BIG mistake to trade LaHair until you know what you have in Rizzo. You, yourself convinced me of this John as prospects don't usually work out. Even if LaHair's 32 by the time we're competing, that's still at least 2 or 3 productive years from there. Or trade him in the offseason after he's established himself and has more value. In late June, I'd move him to left, Rizzo to 1st, see how they do, let the league adjust, see what we got.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    You never know if prospects can pan out, but you have to play the odds. Late bloomers tend to have shorter career arcs. I'm not sure he'll play well into his mid 30s, especially when you consider he's not an athletic guy. Haven't had the time to write an article today but that's something I'm considering writing about more in detail later.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I'm all for playing the odds. I just think the odds say LaHair will have more value in a year than he does today. With the added bonus that you'll have seen Rizzo hit major league pitching for 3 months. But we'll have to agree to disagree. Or leg wrastle. But not both. We're not animals, John.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    On a related subject, how does everyone feel about Josh Hamilton and someone (the Rangers perhaps) signing him to a long term deal? I think that type of player, with his physical style of play, not to mention the off the field addiction issues, is a bad candidate for a long term deal, especially one that goes until the player is 36-38.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    To bring up the Cubs being irrelevant is silly as well.

  • I'm a big Sean Marshall fan, but this season shows why you need to sell high on RP. He's having a rough go of it so far with Cinncy.

    Here's hoping Marmol can bounce back, and we can deal him to a needy team.

    I'm also glad Byrd is getting it together. He gets to play on a contender, and we really didn't need him here. Well wishes to him. He's started off well!

  • In reply to bwenger:

    I would always sell high on a reliever, unless you are talking about a Rivera/Hoffman type.

  • I heard the guys on MLB radio on XM talking about the Rangers as a potential team looking for an offensive upgrade at 1st if Moreland continues to struggle. He has a few months to improve but if he doesn't that could be a possible landing spot for LaHair if the Cubs were to try and trade him. If they're in "win now" mode maybe Theo & Co could get a nice package for him. I like LaHair but the future at 1st is Rizzo....

  • In reply to Larry H:

    I think LaHair would be great fit at Texas.

    Agreed too on LaHair. Good player, but Cubs have to look further ahead.

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