2011 Player Recap - Sean Marshall

2011 Player Recap - Sean Marshall
One of the best middle relievers in baseball

Since this is partly my blog, I wish you all a Merry Christmas!  If you're not Christian, okay, Happy Winter Solstice!  Christmas was set up to leverage the carryings on from an old pagan holiday, anyway.  Most biblical scholars believe Christ was born in June.  Whatevs, tis the season where many of us choose to stop and reflect on whatever good things exist in our lives, family, friends, vocations.  I reflect on all of the above, and I also choose to reflect this morning on Sean Marshall.

Faustus1500 got the ball roling this morning with a comment from my previous post: "Sean Marshall to the Reds?"  That prompted me to scurry around for data, and in short order bumped in Phil Rogers' latest screed.  Now, I don't have intimate knowledge of Phil's job description.  Perhaps his livelihood depends on writing something unique and novel about the Cubs every day.  As you can tell by the lack of content on this here site, it has been brutal coming up with new ideas to write about.  So, I suppose on the chance that Rogers is faced with such a predicament, we should have some sort of pity for him. 

Because, in a winter of manufactured, stilted, dysfunctional ideas, the idea of trading one of the most reliable left handed relievers in baseball for the ninth best starter on Dusty Baker's team is the worst one he's come up with all off-season.

In my opinion, all the new-school scientific baseball minds have it all wrong, in an attempt to simplify the game, model the game and predict the game, they calculate a player's worth as if they were a equity, like a stock.  High risk, high reward, innings are innings; a man who pitches 140 innings middlingly well is just as valuable, perhaps moreso, than a man who pitches 70 innings really well.  I mean, meh...every GM for every team in every sport...well, maybe not EVERY, but the vast majority? 

 The vast majority of GM's are only looking for one thing, really: something they can count on.  This is why Albert Pujols had the balls to ask for a 10 year contract, and the Angels had the balls to give it to him: because no other major leaguer playing today, or in the entire history of the game, has performed at the level he has, as consistenly as he has.  There have been more devastating offensive forces (steroids be damned) but every single damn week of his career, Pujols has hit over .300, a couple of bombs and drove in seven.  Every single week of his baseball life.  He has never endured any sort of real slump, he is the one man you know is going to hit, he always has, and there is nothing outside of his tainted Dominican birth certificate that says that he won't always hit.

He is a GM's wet dream.

In his own way, so is Sean Marshall.  Yes, in the overall scheme of things, an effective starter is more valuable than a reliever of exact effectiveness, simply because he pitches three times as many innings.  Yes, Sean Marshall has been an exemplary organizational man.  He came up as s starter, and every year they say he's going to get his shot to start, and every year he's back in the same spot.  Now, I don't know, perhaps behind closed doors, Sean is a bitch, always whining and complaining about not getting to start. I doubt it, though.  There doesn't appear to be any secrets left, anymore.  But otherwise, I don't know why year in, year out, people talk about Marshall going back into the rotation.

In 59 career starts, he has a 4.86 ERA, and a 16-26 record.  In 233 relief appearences, he has a 2.67 ERA.  Since he went to the pen, Sean Marshall is as sure of a thing as the Cubs have.  Why, if I were Theo Epstein, would I want to mess with that?

If I were Sean Marshall, and in fact felt I was above middle relief, rather than wishing to return to the rotation (where I sucked), I would want to know why I have never been considered as the closer?   I realize that most closers of the past 30 years have been hard throwers, except that Bruce Sutter never threw hard, Dennis Eckersley didn't throw hard by the time he was the closer, and Trevor Hoffman wasn't a hard thrower the last two-thirds of his career.  Personally, at this particular point in time, I would feel better with Marshall on the mound in the ninth than Carlos Marmol (aka the Human Panic Attack).  And I sure as hell would feel better with Marshall in OUR bullpen than the Reds' pen.

He's a sure thing, just leave him the hell alone.  I hope to hell this is just More S#!t Phil Rogers Says, and not factual.  If Theo and His Posse do trade Marshall to the Reds, and Votto, Phillips, or Latos isn't coming back our way, the whole Unconditional Support thing will start to wear thin.

UPDATE: apparently, this is not just s#!t Phil Says; there's enough smoke out there to suggest that this trade is a distinct possibility if not in fact fait accompli.  OK, Theo, you are about to find out, if you don't know already, that Chicago is just as wild and irrational as Boston.


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  • Well said Rob. Funny comment you made on John's blog. He does have quite the following. I enjoy reading your stuff as well though.

    I am somewhat torn by the trade only because it's the Reds, and they have Dusty Baker, and that man is responsible for a lot of depression in Cubdom from 2003-2006.

    If we keep Sean, do you suggest we tender him a contract at $4 mill per year? Do we lock him up now? I like the trade because if there is a strength on there team, it is the bullpen. I look at the trade like this: Travis Wood replaces Casey Coleman. That instantly makes us better. Will the Cubs up and comers be able to replace Sean's value? Probably not. But the difference between Wood vs. Coleman and Marshall Vs. James Russell is a lot in my opinion. Plus if we get a couple prospects in the deal it becomes a no brainer.

    It's easy to love Sean. He's as dependable as they come, and as you point out, he doesn't complain about where he pitches. Guys like him are hard to find. And the thought of facing him in the bottom of the 8th multiple times a year is kind of scary. So while I see where you are coming from, I think I still would make this trade when all is said and done.

  • Good points, Rob. Marshall as a closer is actually not a bad idea since he handles righties very well. My only issue is that he's about to get expensive -- especially if you make him a closer the year before free agency.

  • When I look at what has happened to the Cubs this season it reminds me of the scene in The Big Lebowski where the dude is leaving bowling alley to see his car burning. Some of us see the trading of Marshall as a nihilistic move, but it really shouldn't see it that way. Let's face it the Cubs like the dude's car is crap. Unlike the dude, the Cubs organization is going to try to replace it with something significantly better.

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