Carlos Marmol: The Devin Hester of the Chicago Cubs signs a new 3-year contract

Carlos Marmol: The Devin Hester of the Chicago Cubs signs a new 3-year contract
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With pitchers and cathers reporting to the Cubs' camp in Mesa, Arizona yesterday, the long wait inbetween baseball seasons is rapidly closing. The team has been fairly active during the offseason; bringing back Kerry Wood to sure-up the bullpen, and adding former Tampa Bay teammates Matt Garza (starting pitcher) and Carlos Pena (first base) to the roster.

Only moments ago, it was made official that the Cubs have signed Carlos Marmol to a three-year contract, giving Cub fans even more good news to celebrate.

Reports have had the two sides close to a deal for sometime, but today's ealry news assured the deal would be done by the end of the day.

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Thankfully this image will be a mainstay at Wrigley Field for, at least, the next three years, with Marmol's new deal made official today

Stats are almost irrelevant with Marmol, as everything one needs to know about him can likely be seen in one outting. [However, it should be noted that Marmol's stats can be equally impressive: last year, for just a taste, 25% of the strikes he threw were swinging strikes- this is a 10% improvement on the MLB average].

When he is on, Marmol is simply unhittable. When he does not have command of his control, things can get very ugly incredibly fast.

While some fans screamed for the team to embrace a full rebuilding mode and supported GM Jim Hendry trading the valuable Marmol to stock-up on prospects, the moves the Cubs made during the offseason immediately showed that the team would NOT be in rebuilding mode.

I was fine with the Cubs attempting to dump as much salary and as many players as possible during the offseason, so I would have been one that embraced a full rebuilding mode. The way I see it, this is the quickest way (although the path is long, and likely to be painful) to revamp the entire franchise and bring the team back to a level where it can remain competitive for a number of consecutive years.

That being said, the Chicago Cubs will never do this.

The team is in too big of a market, makes too much money, and has the incredible burden of 100+ years without a championship riding on its shoulders. To "clean house" and truly rebuild is a pipe dream. The Cubs certainly could do this, but telling a fanbase that has been waiting so long for a winner to gear-up for two to three years of irrelevancy as they rebuild is not a great business move; so the team simply will not do this.

Instead, retaining some of your best talent, while attempting to fill-in the holes with new players via free agency or trades, is really the only route the Cubs could take. Hendry, and chairman Tom Ricketts, also have assured- or tried to assure- fans that an emphasis is being placed on the farm system, and scouting in general, to coincide with the tinkering that they have done.

Although they may have spent more money than makes since for a team trying to wait-out other terrible and expensive contracts, represented by Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome (among others), the Cubs did a fair job attempting to guide this rickety train back onto its tracks.

Trading Carlos Marmol for a number of prospects, then, does not make much since. If the team is spending $10 million on a new first baseman while also acquiring a top-of-the-rotation starter AND mending the bullpen woes of last year, what would trading away one of your best commodities accomplish?

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Andrew Cashner went 2-6 for the Cubs in his rookie campaign last year with a 4.80 ERA; numbers that suggest he is not ready to close in the big leagues

Marmol's value surely is high, and the Cubs likely would have received some desireable talent in return- but for what? To watch however many leads they hold this year going into the ninth inning be erased? Some have said that second-year pitcher Andrew Cashner could take over closing duties if Marmol was traded. While Cashner looked reasonably good last year, putting that extra pressure on a developing player in only his second year in the big leagues would be a drastic mistake.

Cub fans must hope for Cashner to continue to evolve as a middle-releif or set-up man. With Wood being able to help get the ball to Marmol at the end of the game, Cashner becoming a dependable releiver would be another huge addition to the Cubs' bullpen. If he had been promoted to closer, the team would likely be looking at another season dessimated by an atrocious bullpen.

I look at the Cubs' situation with Marmol much like I viewed the Bears' position with Devin Hester the last two years. While some fans were clamouring for the team to trade away Hester to try and fill-in some of the many holes on the roster, there never seemed to be a legitimate reason to pull the trigger on such a deal.

First, I want to make it obvious that by no means am I saying that the importance of Carlos Marmol remaining a Cub is equal to the impact that Devin Hester has to the Bears. The idea of trading them away is just quite similar. Surely Marmol closing-out games, sometimes for two innings, is more important to the Cubs than the on-and-off receiving of Hester, even keeping in mind his kick/punt return ability. However, consider the circumstances:

By trading away Hester, the Bears would have been saying goodbye to what was, at the time, their best chance to put up points (based strictly on his special teams contributions). Furthermore, Hester, like Marmol, offers fans the most electric display of any other player on the team.

Marmol will be his own worst enemy at times this season. He will walk and/or hit batters, loading the bases and forcing himself to make a number of perfect pitches to survive. Somtimes he will get out of it, and other times he will implode- just like we have seen from Hester in the past.

Without Hester, however, the Bears would have been boring as hell two years ago, and they would have traded away one of their most valuable commodities on a gamble of incoming talent.

Without Marmol, the Cubs would have little hope closing out any close games this year, and this way, even if the team struggles to hover around .500 during the season, fans will have the thrilling opportunity to watch Marmol pitch on a consistent basis.

Having Marmol locked-up for three more years is simply fantastic news for Cub fans.

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  • May I say, right here in February, I am setting no limit on how far the Cubs may take it this year. There Will Be Records Broken!!!

  • This is good, its always nice to watch marmol even if nothing else is going well. Plus to have Wood back too, I have always like him a lot.

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