Cubs get creative with Marmol's deal

February, 14, 2011
2/14/11
7:38
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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Part of the process of getting a deal done for Cubs’ closer Carlos Marmol revolved around the relationship between one of Marmol’s agents and Cubs GM Jim Hendry.

“Barry [Praver] and I hadn’t really talked about a [one-year] deal for a while,” Hendry said. “In the past, Carlos has always been real honest with [Cubs minor league director] Oneri [Fleita] and I that he’d like to have a multiyear deal, even a year or so ago.”

[+] EnlargeMarmol
AP Photo/Morry GashCarlos Marmol was one of baseball's top closers in 2010.
Cubs general manager went on to talk about some of the inside parts of the three-year contract.

“A long-term deal I think was our real goal,” Hendry said. “Barry and I spent the better part of our time since the [Cubs Convention on Jan. 14] working toward this goal. In the past four or five days it became apparent that we could see the finish line coming.”

Hendry, once again, was able to accomplish a signing while saving the Cubs money in 2011 and beyond.

Marmol would’ve received around $5 million on a one-year deal, so by paying him $3.2 million in 2011, the Cubs saved $1.8 million on their 2011 payroll. According to a major league source, the Cubs’ payroll this season will be right around $133 million. That’s a drop of $12 million from the 2010 payroll.

Amazingly, the Cubs have been able to add starter Matt Garza, setup man Kerry Wood, first baseman Carlos Pena and re-sign one of the game’s top closers for a combined $13.6 million this season.

The numbers are startling if you think about it. Wood turned down a reported $5 million from other teams, Pena is getting paid over three years for his one-year deal, and Marmol is playing for almost $2 million less than he would have gotten in arbitration.

For the Cubs closer, the deal was all about security.

“I wanted to secure my life and my family’s life and my career,” Marmol said. “It’s not about money. It’s about feeling good staying here in Chicago. Hopefully I can sign a 10-year deal next.”

Marmol was the most intimidating strikeout man in the history of relief pitching, averaging 15.99 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in 2010. That’s the highest average ever produced by a relief pitcher.

The 28-year-old also set the single season strikeout record for a Cubs’ reliever with 138 while saving 38 of the team’s 75 wins.

Marmol, a converted catcher, will make $3.2 million in 2011, $7 million in 2012 and $9.8 million in 2013. The Cubs’ pitcher will also get a signing bonus of $1 million up front from this year’s salary.

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

BA LEADER
Starlin Castro
BA HR RBI R
.292 14 65 58
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 31
RBIA. Rizzo 74
RA. Rizzo 85
OPSA. Rizzo .900
WJ. Arrieta 9
ERAT. Wood 4.86
SOJ. Arrieta 157