Marmol may be too good to keep

August, 13, 2012
8/13/12
10:23
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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Entering the final year of a three-year, $21 million contract in 2013 leaves a few open-ended question marks for closer Carlos Marmol and the Chicago Cubs.

The 30-year-old career Cub is possibly the right man for the job making the wrong salary. With the Cubs rebuilding and a few years away from being competitive again, a trade during the offseason could become a reality.

Marmol will earn $9.2 million dollars in 2013 and will be eligible for free-agent status in 2014.

[+] EnlargeCarlos Marmol
Jake Roth/US PresswireCubs closer Carlos Marmol has converted his last 13 save opportunities.
“I don’t want to leave,” Marmol said. “I don’t have any idea what they are thinking. I would love to stay here even if it takes a couple years to get better. Leaving this (organization) would be tough for me. I hope they want me to stay for a long time.”

After struggling with his command at the end of 2011 and in early 2012, Marmol has found his closing mojo once again. He has converted his last 13 save opportunities in a row dating back to May 2.

At the insistence of manager Dale Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio, the Cub closer has established his fastball as his main pitch rather than depending on his slider. At this point, Sveum sees Marmol as a part of his team next year.

“I don’t see any reason why not,” Sveum said. “He has been as good as anybody in baseball since he went back into the closer’s role and the save opportunities he has had.”

That Marmol is one of the few known commodities on the pitching staff may give Cubs management some pause before they consider trading him.

“He is signed through next year and he is the one guy on our roster next year that will have closed,” Sveum said. “Hopefully everything continues.”

Coming into 2012 Marmol had more appearences than any pitcher in the major leagues from 2008-11. Marmol was over-used in 2011 when he appeared in more games than any closer and was used in 27 back-to-back games, again more than any other relief pitcher in baseball.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.98 104 108
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Rizzo .284
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 56
RA. Rizzo 71
OPSA. Rizzo .917
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOJ. Hammel 104