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Friday, December 7, 2012
Marmol ready to welcome Fujikawa to Cubs

By Bruce Levine

As the Chicago Cubs rolled out the red carpet for Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa Friday at Wrigley Field, the team’s current closer was reading about the press conference with interest.

“I am happy we are adding good players to the team,” Carlos Marmol told ESPNChicago.com on Friday. “I hear (Fujikawa) is a good pitcher and we need all the help we can get to be better.”


Some people think Marmol now is trade bait for the Cubs, but the team and the player have an understanding about the near and distant future.

“Baseball is a business and I understand that,” Marmol said. “Hey, they almost traded me already so I can’t be surprised if it happens. I am a Cub and I hope to stay with them, but most of that is up to them. I will come to spring training ready to do my job and try to help the Cubs win.”

The 30-year-old pitcher will make $9.8 million in 2013 in the last season of a three-year $21 million contract and can be a free agent after the season. He has a limited no-trade clause and can veto a trade to five major league teams.

Marmol had 20 saves in 23 opportunities in 2012. He struck out 72 batters in 55.1 innings but also walked 45, most of those coming in the first half of the season when he lost his closer’s role.

“I was much stronger in the second half of the season,” Marmol said. “Throwing a two-seam fastball was the reason. My slider is a tougher pitch on my arm and I threw too many of them. (Pitching coach Chris) Bosio and (manager) Dale (Sveum) made me earn my job back by using the fastball.”

Marmol will enter his sixth full season in the bullpen for the only team he has ever played for. From 2007- 2011 Marmol made the most appearances by a pitcher in the major leagues.

He was nearly dealt to the Los Angeles Angels for Dan Haren in November, but the deal fell apart.

“When they asked me to be traded I was nervous and sad but I said yes because I was going to a great team that has a chance to win,” Marmol said. “Baseball is about winning and making money for your family so I look forward to doing both.”