Levine: Marmol will be traded by opening day

Levine: Marmol will be traded by opening day

Bruce Levine had his chat today and you can check it out here.  Bruce is a little old school, so I differ with him on quite a few things in this chat, such as the importance of RBI or having Tony Campana's speed on the roster over Dave Sappelt's RH bat.  But one of his opinions got my attention...

 Marmol should be gone before opening day. He's been a tremendously durable reliever and someone will give the Cubs what they want in return.

This makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons.  The first is that the Cubs aren't going to keep Marmol beyond this season anyway.  The second is that the front office has stated a goal to create long term value through the closer role.  This, of course, means trading a piece like Marmol for players who figure to contribute beyond this season.  It also means giving opportunities for pitchers like Kyuji Fujikawa to step into larger roles and also to create opportunities for possible future closers such as Tony Zych or perhaps Arodys Vizcaino if he doesn't stick as a starting pitcher.

That part of it wasn't a surprise to me.  One of my own sources told me as early as last season (after the deadline passed) that Marmol will likely be the next big name traded.  The part that got my attention today in the chat was that he would be gone before opening day.

If both Scott Baker and Matt Garza are ready to go when the bell rings, then the Cubs bullpen should be pretty deep.  Other than Carlos Marmol, the following pitchers are locks to make the team:

  • RHP Kyuji Fujikawa
  • RHP Shawn Camp
  • LHP James Russell
  • RHP Carlos Villanueva
  • RHP Scott Feldman

Furthermore, RHP Michael Bowden is out of options and barring a deal of some sot, he's expected to make the team as well.  It seems likely too that the Cubs would also like to keep Rule 5 pick Hector Rondon if at all possible.  If everyone is healthy by the end of spring, that's 8 bullpen arms.  It's one too many.  And we haven't even yet considered the possibility that the Cubs may want to add a 2nd LHP such as Brooks Raley, Chris Rusin, or non-roster invite Hisanori Takahashi.

With too many arms and the Cubs looking to add long term value, it would seem Marmol could indeed be the odd man out.  In a side note, it is interesting to note that when Fujikawa was acquired, GM Jed Hoyersaid at the time that Marmol would remain the team's closer heading into spring training.

Adding to the possibility is the fact that, other than James Russell, he's the only pitcher on the list that could potentially bring back something useful to aid in the Cubs rebuilding efforts.  Unlike Russell, however, Marmol is strictly a short term player for the Cubs.

Marmol appears to have regained some value despite persistent control issues.  A change in his approach and an uptick in velocity, which was often at 94-96 and peaked at 97 mph, has scouts thinking he can still dominate when he commands his potent fastball/slider combination.  While he'll never be a strike throwing machine, Marmol did nearly double his K/BB ratio in the second half to 2.29.  He was able to cut his walk ratio from 9.82 to 5.16 per 9 IP while simultaneously improving his strikeout ratio to almost 12Ks per 9IP.  It's still not ideal, but teams can better accept the walk totals, as long as they know he can continue to miss bats with that type of regularity.  There is still some value there considering his relative youth (30 yrs old), arm strength and durability.

As to what the return might be, Levine thought pitching was the most likely target, while a 3B would be "1A".





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  • Tony Zych! My pick to click!

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Watch McNutt too. The kind of guy that can surprise if things click for him. Command not as sharp but raw stuff might be better.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, a bit OT here, but how large physically is Marmol? Im asking because thin pitchers who throw lots of sliders tend to break down and develop elbow/shoulder issues at the mid-point of there careers. Marmol has been a big leaguer essentially since 2006-is there any possibility that the Cubs fear he might break down physically due to poor mechanics or not being large physically.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    Marmol, a converted catcher, is listed at 6'2", 215.

  • john, I know I haven't commented in a while but I saw the chat and I think marmol is gone If the right deal comes along. Another question on the chat was about castro and him looking ''soft'' and levine said that he thinks castro looks stronger and grew another inch. I seen the opening ceremony for the cubs convention and castro did look like he was taller and was bigger.Do you think castro is growing into his man body ?

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    In reply to seankl:

    I hope Castro doesn't have a winter home in Florida :)

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    In reply to Just Win:

    made me chuckle ^^

  • In reply to seankl:

    I haven't seen Castro lately so it's hard for me to say from a personal standpoint but it wouldn't surprise me. People forget he's still just 22. I believe I was still growing at that age.

  • Makes no sense to trade him to me unless the return is good. Maybe at the deadline, but not now. We have the makings of a really good bullpen.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    No question. There has to be a good return. Otherwise there is no point. The way I look at it, if they weren't asking for a lot of value in return, he'd have been gone already.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well said.

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    In reply to givejonadollar:

    It's hard to say what the return could be on Marmol. One year of Dan Haren with a $15 mil price tag wasn't a big return in my book. Alot probably depends on how much salary we send.

    If we send no $, I would expect a raw, low-level type arm at best

    If we pick-up alot of the tab, I think we can get a better prospect

    I think the Cubs would rather pay $ and get a better player, but some clubs would rather take on the salary

  • In reply to Zonk:

    The Cubs only purpose in trading Marmol is to obtain talent. They won't make a trade to get salary relief, imo. The long term value they get in return is far more more important that the short term money they save now.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Maybe someone like Daniel Bard if the Cubs throw someone else in? I realize he isn't considered a prospect, but he "might" still have upside.

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    In reply to givejonadollar:

    If all your getting back is a reclamation project like Bard(still nice upside though) either the Red Sox would have to kick in another player or we consider it even. No way do we kick in an extra player.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Bard has value, frankly Im mystified why the RedSucks made him a starter, sorta like Im mystified why the Reds want to make the Cuban Missle a starter. Bard threw 100 as a reliever, by the time he reached the 3rd inning he was throwing 91-92, not exactly Verlander-type stuff. Same with Chapman. Bard has value if everyone remembers hes a 7th/8th setup guy, not a starter and doesn't have a closers mentality.

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    Who would want Marmol?

    I would think the Tigers would be very interested, but their system is pretty bare (Castellanos is too much to ask).

    Who else is potentially in market for a closer?

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I actually have quite a few concerns about Castellanos. I'm not convinced he's a 3B defensively and I don't know if he'll have the kind of OBP and slugging you like from a corner OF'er. Not that I wouldn't take him for Marmol, of course :)

    I think we'll get a better read on who needs closers as the spring goes on. Lots of teams talk now like they have the issue resolved but doubts tend to crop up as the season nears.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    He's already a full-time outfielder at this point. I never had faith he'd stay at 3rd. The more time that goes by the more I appreciate the non-deal with Garza for Turner and Castellanos.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Agreed. Cubs had every right to insist on both players. They need impact guys and it's really up in the air to me whether either of those guys will be that kind of player.

  • Aren't there still a couple of closers on the free agent list, such as F Rodirquez, Wilson and maybe a couple others? I don't see a big market for Marmol unless they just want to give him away, which I don't think they want to do. I think the best route is if there are some major injuries and some team really needs him and wants to win now. Hasn't the Angels closer come up with some type of injury and they wanted Marmol before. Don't know the extent of the injury.

  • In reply to cubman:

    Heard Wilson looks done so I don't think he's an option. Rodriguez might be a hinderance but teams don't seem to eager to bring him on either. Stuff isn't the same and I wonder if teams only see him now as more of a set-up guy.

    If you mean the Angels closer that got hurt last year, then I think you mean Jordan Walden. He's on the Braves now but the Angels are rolling with another injury risk in Ryan Madson.

  • Who needs closers? or setup men?

  • In reply to waitingOn2015:

    Teams are being coy right now because they understandably don't want to give up a lot for a closer at this stage. Time has a way of changing that, though. I suspect we'll get a clear picture as we approach the end of spring training.

  • John,

    Are you going to the Meet the Cubs event in Geneva? I'll be there.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Unfortunately I'm not. Was too uncertain about my health to commit. Truth be told I'm still not 100%, still dealing with some residual complications from that horrific flu.

    Heard it's sold out now :(

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yikes. Hang in there. If anyone else from the board is going, message me and we'll meet up.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Thanks Eddie. Let me know how it goes and you're welcome to write a guest post on it if you like. Wish I could be there.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks. Hopefully there's a Q & A and the guys in attendance are in the mood to open up. I've never attended a Cubs Convention or anything like this event, so I'm not sure what to expect.

  • I think this is just Levine's hunch, not real info he has. (As is usually the case with Levine it seems.) Hope I'm wrong though. Love to get some young talent back for Marmol with him only under control through this year. And unlike Garza who really does fit this FO's philosophy (even better than EJax imo), Marmol doesn't at all with that crazy walk rate.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    You're probably right. I actually go that vibe myself. It does make sense though.

    That said, a good healthy spring by Garza could flip that order. I agree teams would be more inclined to pick up Garza before the season because he's far more likely to merit a qualifying offer and draw a comp pick.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Totally. That would be ideal with the comp pick netting us a bigger return. I'm guessing it's gonna take till the deadline though. Him being extended wouldn't surprise me either.

  • John, Noted the tongue-in-cheek comments above about Castro and "a winter home in Fla". Just wondering, do the Cubs have an active program on the part of the FO to educate and guide players away from PEDs and that type of influence? Or do they leave that up to the players and agents?

  • In reply to drben:

    I have to think that's part of their education, not that it's going to necessarily stop that sort of thing completely. Doesn't seem like part of Castro's nature, though, and his two biggest mentors,, Soriano and A-Ram, aren't PED guys. It would be shocking to me if Castro were involved in that kind of thing.

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    John, will there be any draft compensation involved with Marmol next winter?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    He and the team would have to have a heck of a year for the Cubs to keep him and give him the qualifying offer. It's not 100% out of the question, given he's going to make close to $10M this year and the QO shouldn't be outrageously north of that.

    Now if he's traded before the spring and he has a Rafael Soriano like year, maybe a team rolls the dice and hopes he doesn't take the offer.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I was never thinking about the Cubs keeping him and making him a qualifying offer. I was thinking about potential draft compensation as an incentive for a team to trade for him before opening day.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I wasn't sure so I tried to answer from both angles :)

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    Is there a statistic or system for gauging a farm systems impact on their major league club over the course of a full season? For example, the White Sox farm system was rated as one of the worst in baseball yet they were able to get significant contributions from their minor leaguers throughout the year. There should be a way of ranking each teams minor league impact. Half would be just sheer volume and the other half how effective was that volume. Did they play a lot of rookies? When they played were they any good? What do you think John?

  • In reply to Jim Pedigo:

    There's stuff like that out there but the Sox were getting some short term contributions from low ceiling role players. I don't think many think they can build a team around those guys. Apart from Sale, who was drafted MLB ready, that team succeeded because of a core of players/pitchers acquired from outside their farm system.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The Whitesux are about to find out. AJP is gone, Flowers now is the everyday catcher there. About to find out if hes worth his high prospect status, so far hes been as much a suspect as a prospect.

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    So is the theory here that Feldman starts in the bullpen and Travis Wood in the rotation? (I don't have a problem with that theory, just want to confirm that's your thinking.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    My guess is that it's a 3 way battle for the last spot if Baker is healthy and a 2 spots if he starts on the DL. I'd say Wood has the inside track but Feldman and/or Villanueva could also start the season in the rotation. My gut feeling is Baker starts on the DL and both Wood and Feldman start the year in the rotation.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Then again, Wood had a rotation spot to lose in the spring last year. And he lost it. So we'll see.

  • I think Travis Wood is also a lock in the pen given the lack of lefties.

  • In reply to joshhunt:

    Nothing says they have to have 2 LHP in the pen. They didn't do it last year. And what of the lack of lefties in the rotation, doesn't that count for something? Cubs are going to be short on LHP either way unless another pitcher like Raley, Rusin, or Takahashi make the team out of spring.

  • In reply to joshhunt:

    I get a feeling Wood might be better as a 2 inning pitcher anyway. Hes mostly FB/CU improving his breaking ball would help immensely.

  • The two things that caught my attention from the chat were that Bruce thinks Sappelt would be DFA'd for Hairston rather than Campana and the part about the Cubs TV deal. Basically, if the Cubs opt out of their WGN deal after next season, they can't shop those games to any cable outlets other than CSN? I hadn't heard that part before and obviously limits what the Cubs could make for that portion of their TV rights.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I hadn't either. That TV deal gets worse all the time.

  • A little off subject for this particular thread but I know you recently commented that you were inviting more ideas from your readership John. This is something I've been wondering with all the talk of the upcoming draft and whether the Cubs will select a top college arm or a position player. What I'm wondering is if there are any numbers out there breaking down the success of drafting college pitchers versus young arms fresh out of high school. I would think the ratio would be pretty slanted in favor of the college pitchers as far as guys simply making the majors, since their "floors" are generally going to be higher and they would typically be closer to the big leagues. But are there any statistics out there comparing top of the rotation pitchers who were drafted out of HS versus out of college? If you were to take the top 60 SP's in MLB, how many of them were drafted right out of HS? I could come up with my own ranking of the top pitchers in say, each of the past five or ten seasons, and then find out when they were drafted and at what age, but that sounds like a lot of work and I'm guessing you might already have some numbers in the vault already.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    Lots of numbers like that and I have some in my files. I even wrote about it last year. There's a difference if you're count a success as a guy likely to reach the big leagues or an impact guy. College arms, for example, are very likely to make it but not as many impact guys. H.S. bats/arms less likely to reach majors but a higher percentage make an impact if they do make it. College bats are the most balanced between risk/impact.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'll see if I can find the article.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    This wasn't the one I was looking for but this article addresses some success rates of past college pitchers -- and it sometimes seems that's not always the best choice.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks, all would be good info I'm sure. I guess I'd be most curious as to the combination of risk and impact. Like what would be the percentage chance of your first round (and maybe first two or three round) selections becoming a top of the rotation SP if you took a college pitcher versus if you selected a HS pitcher. So that would basically be the best 60 pitchers in MLB figuring an average of the top two starters for each team. If you want to increase your chances of landing an ace or #2 SP, do you take a HS or college player?

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    I had a chart on that somewhere in an older article. I'll have to keep digging.

    In general it seems your more likely to get your impact guy out of high school. But it also depends on the draft. This is a draft that lacks big time impact HS talent, and the highest ceiling guys may actually be college arms this time around.

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    Wonder if the latest ped scandal will create some opportunities to trade Soriano...for that matter DeJesus.

    I see Marmol as a set up guy on a good team.

    I'd like to keep Sappelt.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    I'd have to guess they're options with Cubs more willing to move Soriano, probably. Still wouldn't surprise me if they start the season with him, though.

  • We might have seen the last of Alex Rodriquez playing in MLB.

    Another player that will not be in the HOF

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    His HOF status is in serious, serious jeopardy now. That guy seems to have hit rock bottom in terms of his rep.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Niether does he deserve to be. Him and particulary Bonds irritate me the most. Bonds was great before the roids.

  • MLB Network top 100 prospects. Soler (42), Almora (39), Baez (16).

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    Thanks. I missed it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I was surprised the Cubs didn't get anyone else in the top 100. I thought Vizcaino and Vogelbach would have a good chance at the back half of the list.

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    Probably due to injury concerns and lack of playing time respectively. Also I wouldn't take MLB Network's list as an end-all-be-all.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Vizcaino would be closer than Vogelbach for me. Tough to put a 1B/DH only type who hasn't even played full season ball on the list.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ive seen Vogelbach in person, John. His power comes as advertised. Problem with him will be defense. His strictly a 1B or a DH. Id love to see the Cubs find a way to keep him. If his power translates to the bigs, he,ll be a huge fan fave at Wrigley.

  • An apparently 12 year old Ben Linderbegh (editor in chief at BP) on CSN tonight talking about the Cubs...he thinks the Cubs have moved into the 70-75 win range for 2013.

  • The Tribune is reporting the Yankee's are trying to void A-Rod's contract. Good luck with that, they need to be forced to eat every dollar of that deal or hand back the 2009 World Series trophy...

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    In reply to Northside Neuman:

    I almost can't believe MLB said this: "These developments... provide evidence of the comprehensive nature of our anti-drug efforts." I guess it's better than, "Let me get my pants back up and I'll be right with you."

  • For the love of all that's right in the world I hope Brian Wilson truly is done. Or at the very least is not an option coming here. I can see him coming here, dying his beard blue and pandering to the giant swath of halfwits populating Wrigleyville. Everyone running around the Bleachers with bad facial hair...

    Oh lord, please tell me he's still not recovered from arm surgery. Please, please, please....

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    In reply to felzz:

    What are the guys in his beard going to do for work?

  • In reply to felzz:

    But Felzz, I thought you liked the Beach Boys.

  • In reply to felzz:

    Last I read, his FB was barely breaking the low 90s and he cant throw any breaking balls until his doctor clears him to do so. He might be someone to look at after hes fully recovered. His doesn't appear 100% yet.

  • Levine's thoughts on Marmol and Garza are interesting, but the most interesting comments he made were with regard to how long the rebuilding will take:
    "But honestly, no one believes this is just a 4-year rebuild. In order for Epstein, Hoyer and McLeod to be able to make their presence felt, they're going to need somewhere between 5-8 years to turn around the organization. I know that sounds crazy and you're probably angry reading that."

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    In reply to baseballet:

    That's true of all regimes that primarily build through the draft.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    I'm not trying to read his mind, but maybe he is thinking WS-capable within 5-8 years?

    Personally, I think we will be Playoff-capable within 4 yrs. (but things can always happen that we don't anticipate).

    Like many here, all I care about is putting a team on the field that will have sustained success year after year for many years. If the Cubs can do that, then I like our chances.

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    Mayo has his 2013 Top 100 out, which only has the Big 3 on it. While that kind of sucks, all 3 are top 50 (16, 39, 42), which is great.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Can't wait until this time next year when we could possibly have 4-5 guys in the top 100.

    Maybe some players will have a breakout year, or we have a really good draft and get that number up to 6!

    My goal is to have the #1 Minor League system in all of baseball within 1-2 years.

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    In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    That might be a tough goal to accomplish, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The #1 system almost always has a nice balance of pitchers and position players. It's going to take some time for the Cubs to develop pitching depth and, by that time, Baez has -- hopefully -- graduated to the big leagues. While that will pull our minors ranking way down, it's overall a good thing for the Cubs team.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    We just had 5 guys in the top 100 before this new list came out yesterday. That is not important. What is important is the farm system cranking out impact players to the major league team every year. Last year we brought up Rizzo and Castillo. I think they will be impact players for a long time. This year hopefully B Jackson's new swing will hold up in the majors and he will stay and be an impact guy. Maybe Vizcaino or McNutt will make it. I agree about having a good farm system but it doesn't necessarily have to be ranked #1.

  • In reply to John57:

    I believe that was my point all along!

    If we have a top-ranked farm system, then that means we have a lot of talent (pitching and hitting) that we are cranking out year after year.

    Goals are just goals. Nothing more, nothing less. If we don't have something to shoot, then we might as well be back in the Hendry Era (plugging holes each year without a big plan in place).

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Im surprised Vogelbach isn't in the 75-100 range. Mayo must not think he can cut it defensively, because his O will likely compare favorably to Solers, at least his slugging numbers.

  • Thanks to Tim Sheridan from the Boys of Spring blog site for posting this video on “The Cubs Way.” I thought it was pretty cool.

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