Chicago Cubs: Carlos Marmol

Rapid Reaction: Cubs 6, Cardinals 3 (11)

April, 11, 2014
Rogers By Jesse Rogers

ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Cubs won a seesaw game with the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-3 in 11 innings. Here’s a quick look:

How it happened: Welington Castillo hit a two-out, three-run homer in the top of the 11th after Jose Veras blew a save in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Cubs scored a single run in the seventh and two more in the eighth to erase a 1-0 deficit and give Jeff Samardzija his first run support of the season. After Anthony Rizzo reached on an error, Ryan Sweeney brought him home with a base hit to tie the game at one.

In the eighth, Rizzo had a great at-bat that led to a sacrifice fly to score pinch hitter Justin Ruggiano who had singled. Nate Schierholtz then drove one home with a bloop to left -- he had four hits on the night -- but Veras couldn’t shut the door. He gave up two runs on a hit, walk and two hit batters. Samardzija lasted seven innings, giving up six hits and just a solo run in the second inning without walking a batter and striking out four. He’s piling up the quality starts after a third straight dominant performance.

What it means: Like Carlos Marmol before him, Veras can’t be long for the job. His stuff has been bad since the day the Cubs signed him.

Samardzija continues to take the next step in his career. He’s simply being so much more economical with his pitches than ever before. He’s outlasting opposing starters by keeping his pitch count down; on Friday, he walked none and struck out four. The fewer the strikeouts the better for him. Yes, that seems counterintuitive, but because his stuff is so good, he can pitch to contact and not be hurt by it. Through three starts, his ERA is 1.29. Enough said.

Barney sits: Nearly an every-day starter the past few seasons, second baseman Darwin Barney has played only against left-handed pitching so far this season. Most of that has to do with the start to the season for Emilio Bonifacio, who has been red hot through the first two weeks.

"He sees the landscape," Renteria said of Barney. "He sees what’s going on. He’s trying to do everything he can to maintain himself [be ready]."

Wright rusty: Reliever Wesley Wright hasn’t thrown in a game since April 4. He says he’s healthy. Renteria indicated that Friday could have been his night to get in. It never happened.

"Wesley is up and ready to go for us today," Renteria said before the game.

What’s next: Game 2 against the Cardinals takes place on Saturday afternoon at 1:15 p.m. CT with Carlos Villanueva taking on Adam Wainwright.

Veras just a small piece for Cubs

December, 17, 2013
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
Jose Veras had a 3.02 ERA and 21 saves in 67 appearances for the Tigers and Astros last season.Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty ImagesJose Veras had a 3.02 ERA and 21 saves in 67 appearances for the Tigers and Astros last season.
CHICAGO -- He may end up making the most money of all the relievers, but the addition of potential closer Jose Veras to the Chicago Cubs' bullpen is just one small move to improve on a part of the team that wasn't very good in 2013.

Veras agreed to a deal Tuesday joining a group that includes Justin Grimm, Blake Parker, Hector Rondon, James Russell, Pedro Strop, Carlos Villanueva and newcomer Wesley Wright, among others. Prospect Arodys Vizcaino and Japanese pitcher Kuyji Fujikawa are rehabbing from injuries and are expected back in 2014 as well.

As a whole, the bullpen looks that much better than at the beginning of last season when Carlos Marmol anchored the back end of a group that blew 26 saves and produced the third-worst ERA (4.04) in the National League. The turnover by midseason was astounding as only Rondon and Russell survived from start to finish.

"That was one of our biggest regrets from last year," general manager Jed Hoyer said last week at the winter meetings. "We have spent a lot of time about the bullpen, thinking of ways to get better."

At the same time, Hoyer was quick to point out the holdovers are better positioned to have success next year. The Cubs simply have more depth and now are "redundant" in several roles to withstand injury or ineffectiveness.

(Read full post)

The Lake show continues

August, 2, 2013
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
CHICAGO -- Now it's getting scary.

Chicago Cubs outfielder Junior Lake is doing things no one has seen in Chicago in many years. On Friday, Lake became the first Cub since 1916 to have two four-hit games within his first 16 of his career, though it came in a 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

[+] EnlargeJunior Lake
Rob Grabowski/USA TODAY SportsOn Friday, Junior Lake had the second four-hit game of his short major league career, and he seems to be continuing to make adjustments.
"It feels so good," Lake said through an interpreter afterward. "I see the result for the work I do pregame."

Lake had four singles and continues to make more contact on off-speed pitches. His fourth hit was off a sinker. On Thursday, he homered on a slider.

"I'm seeing the ball real well now," Lake said.

He's opening up eyes around the league, but those who have seen him for a while -- such as teammate Starlin Castro -- aren't shocked by his start.

"He was good in the minors and last winter," Castro said. "He's a big, strong athlete. No, no, no. I'm not surprised."

Castro predicts Lake won't get a big head or become brash about his exploits. Lake just wants to play baseball and go home. Speaking of home, Lake isn't ready to buy a house or anything in Chicago, but soon he'll move out of his hotel and into Castro's home for the time being. It might not be long before he may take up a more permanent residence. The minor leagues might be a thing of the past.

"My work will make the decision," Lake said.

Castro added: "I think he's played plenty of time in the minor leagues. He's going to be pretty good."

Manager Dale Sveum says he knows more adjustments are coming, both from pitchers and from Lake. For now, he's letting the .358 hitter just ride the wave.

"We can't forget this guy tore up winter ball and was doing well in Triple-A," Sveum said. "Hopefully this stuff continues."

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Marmol gets revenge against old mates

August, 2, 2013
Levine By Bruce Levine
CHICAGO -- Former Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol got a little satisfaction closing out his former teammates with a scoreless ninth inning in Friday's 6-2 Dodgers victory.

The appearance by Marmol was his first against the Cubs since he was traded earlier in the month after having a miserable first half. On Thursday, the Dominican native promised to try to strike out three of his former teammates in a row. "I said I was going to strike out three in a row, but I am happy to get them out and help us win," he said. "I am not going to lie to you; I was a little nervous. This is where I played my whole career, so I wanted to do well."

Marmol, who is in the last year of a three-year, $21 million contract, was greeted with a solid round of jeers by the Wrigley faithful. The fans in attendance chose to remember the pitcher's struggles over the past two seasons, rather than focus on his sustained excellence five years running.

“I expected louder boos, Marmol said. “When I was warming up in the bullpen, a lot of people were very nice and thanked me. I guess the others forgot. I know I was bad this year and they are mad at me. Nothing I can do about that.”

The 30-year-old pitcher admitted he was stung by the way fans had turned on him earlier in the season. “I am a person and it hurt," he said. "You put seven years of your life working hard to make people happy and help your team win. I don’t think I deserved that treatment."

Although Marmol said he did not have a relationship with Cubs front-office executives, he said his agent, Paul Kinzer, did have good communication with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

“I think they have good people running it here, but they are going to need a lot more young players," Marmol said. “I was very happy in Chicago. The last month or so was tough, but I will always have good memories of my time here."

Marmol returns, happy to be a Dodger

August, 1, 2013
Rogers By Jesse Rogers

CHICAGO -- He saved 117 games for the Chicago Cubs from 2006 to 2013 but it's the 28 blown saves and countless other nerve wracking moments in his final years that Carlos Marmol will probably be most remembered for.

He returns as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers after a trade last month that brought the Cubs reliever Matt Guerrier.

For Marmol, the past is exactly that.

"The Cubs, for Carlos Marmol, that's over," he said before the start of a four-game series between the clubs on Thursday. "I'm a Dodger now."

After all the years wearing a Cubs uniform, Marmol had never been in the visiting locker room until Thursday and when pushed to reflect on his time in Chicago he said making the playoffs in 2007 and 2008 were his best memories. But that was a long time ago. His most recent ones are of getting booed nearly every time he took the mound. He's always tried to block it out.

"I never worry about the fans," Marmol said.

(Read full post)

Cubs stay quiet at trade deadline

July, 31, 2013
Rogers By Jesse Rogers

CHICAGO -- The major league trading deadline passed on Wednesday afternoon without the Chicago Cubs making any further deals after making several trades earlier in the month, including dealing pitchers Matt Garza and Scott Feldman along with outfielder Alfonso Soriano.

"The last couple of days we had a lot of irons in the fire but never got that close," general manager Jed Hoyer said Wednesday after the deadline.

Sources confirm outfielders Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus along with pitchers Kevin Gregg and James Russell all had interest from other teams. Catcher Dioner Navarro was rumored to possibly be heading to the St. Louis Cardinals after an injury to Yadier Molina sent them into a buyer's mode.

"Yadier and I have the same agent so he called me up and said there are some rumors that I'm going to St. Louis because of Yadier's health," Navarro said.

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Cubs first half: It's still about the future

July, 15, 2013
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
Matt GarzaAP Photo/Morry GashThe key to the Cubs' latest roster re-tooling will be finding the right trade for Matt Garza by July 31.
CHICAGO -- Selling season has come early for the Chicago Cubs this year, not that anyone should be surprised by it. But it is a reminder about what we're dealing with here -- considering that even before the All-Star break the Cubs brass has decided another season at hand is lost. Many times a front office will at least wait to see if there is any surge in the standings before the July 31 trade deadline.

That's not the case in Chicago these days. If any statistic from the first half describes how the Cubs feel about their team it's this: They set a franchise record using 43 players, two more than the old record set in 2001. That's not an organization ready to win.


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No, this season was probably over before it started. And we can dissect and lament what went wrong -- mostly the bullpen -- but that would be a waste of energy. The bottom line is the Cubs were only going to be good enough to compete this year if the season was simply one of those magical years that happens for a team, one that comes out of nowhere.

Alas, that wasn't the case for the Cubs, not with Carlos Marmol starting the year as the closer. It eliminated any special start to the season and basically the Cubs have been treading water since. Yes, they've had some nice starting pitching but even that has started to go backwards.
And now the inevitable second half slide is upon us. If the mood in the clubhouse wasn't down before, then wait until Matt Garza is traded. That's this year's white flag. At least in the clubhouse it is. Anyone watching knew this was going to happen again. The Cubs are retooling for the future yet again.

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Cubs' bullpen retools and is alive and well

July, 12, 2013
Levine By Bruce Levine
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have won 10 of their past 15 games with a newly constructed bullpen. Chicago's starting rotation has been stellar all season, but the makeshift relief corps has made a big difference in the Cubs' recent surge.

Gone from the bullpen that began the season is closer Carlos Marmol. Setup men Kyuji Fujikawa and Shawn Camp are also out of the picture. Only left-hander James Russell remains from the back end of the unaccomplished first group of relievers.

[+] EnlargePedro Strop
David Banks/USA TODAY SportsCubs reliever Pedro Strop has been an effective setup man, and could be their closer of the future.
"We have a lot of big arms now," Russell said. "We have [Henry] Rodriguez come in and throwing 100 mph. We have [Pedro] Strop, who we just picked up, and he comes in throwing 96 mph from all angles. [Kevin] Gregg has been lights-out at the end of the game. We have Blake Parker coming into his own. All and all, we have a really tight group out there."

On Thursday night, Parker, Russell, Strop and Gregg combined for two innings of one-hit relief in a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

Earlier this spring, the Cubs' morale was at quite a low when the bullpen led the majors in blown saves. Before Gregg was picked up as a free agent, the bullpen seemed to be in a state of panic. Gregg has converted 16 of 18 save opportunities since signing in April. The rest of the relievers have been a combined 5-of-21.

"This is a much more functional bullpen than we have had before," manager Dale Sveum said. "With Strop and some of the others now, I am able to do so many things that I wasn't able to do before."

Numerous teams are calling the Cubs to express interest in trading for Gregg and Russell, according to scouting sources. The dilemma for the Cubs' front office is whether to trade from an area that took almost half a season to get right.

"Our bullpen came in and shut down one of the better lineups," said Cubs starter Edwin Jackson, who won his sixth game of the season Thursday after pitching seven innings of three-hit ball. "We picked each other up. That is big when you have a team that can pick each other up."

Cubs surprised by Hairston move

July, 8, 2013
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
CHICAGO -- If the Chicago Cubs didn’t know trading season was upon them before, they do now. Most players were surprised by the latest move Monday morning -- Scott Hairston to the Washington Nationals for a minor league pitcher.

“It was quite surprising just because we knew he was locked up for two years,” outfielder Nate Schierholtz said. “I don’t think anyone thought he was going anywhere.”

Trading Carlos Marmol was one thing. Even moving Scott Feldman to Baltimore wasn’t a complete shock, considering his free-agent to be status. The Hairston trade says anyone can be traded regardless of contract status.

(Read full post)

Trades no surprise as Cubs look to future

July, 2, 2013
By Joe Stiglich
Special to
OAKLAND, Calif. – The Chicago Cubs got the ball rolling Tuesday with a flurry of trades aimed at the future, and surely they’ll be dealing away more veteran pieces as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.

Before Tuesday’s series opener against the Oakland Athletics, manager Dale Sveum tried focusing on the potential upside of the players Chicago received in multiple deals that essentially kicked off Major League Baseball’s trading season.

[+] EnlargeJake Arrieta
Kim Klement/US PresswireThe Cubs hope Jake Arrieta can fulfill his promise in Chicago.
In their biggest move of the day, the Cubs shipped right-handed starter Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for right-hander Jake Arrieta, reliever Pedro Strop and $388,100 in international bonus pool money.

They also sent reliever Carlos Marmol and a sizable chunk of international bonus money to the Los Angeles Dodgers for reliever Matt Guerrier and dealt minor league second baseman Ronald Torreyes to the Houston Astros in exchange for $784,700 in bonus money.

It’s expected that Matt Garza, another rotation cornerstone, and closer Kevin Gregg could also be traded away soon.

Sveum was asked if it was demoralizing to see his team officially go into “sell mode.”

“I wouldn’t say it’s tough, because you know it’s got a chance of happening,” Sveum said. “To get an arm like Arrieta, that kind of athleticism and body … the ability to get a ball to 97 miles per hour but have a 91 mile per hour slider, it’s [the kind of guy you’re] trying to get in the organization.”

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Cubs trade Marmol to L.A. for Guerrier

July, 2, 2013
By news services
The Chicago Cubs traded former closer Carlos Marmol to the Los Angeles Dodgers for reliever Matt Guerrier on Tuesday.

Read the entire story.

Marmol's arm -- not fans -- reason for woes

June, 25, 2013
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
Carlos MarmolBrian Kersey/Getty ImagesCarlos Marmol has a career-worst 5.86 ERA this season.
If you expected Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Marmol to go off into the sunset quietly, think again.

After being designated for assignment on Tuesday, he took a parting shot at the fans.

"Every time I go to the mound I try to give 100 percent, all I got, I didn't fail for lack of effort," Marmol said to ESPN Deportes. "I would say that the lack of support from the fans was part of the reason of the mental block that I suffered recently."

That's all well and good but what was the issue at the beginning of the season, before the boos rained down? Marmol gave up critical runs in his first three appearances of the season -- all on the road -- before Cubs fans could even get a piece of him. Maybe they eventually did contribute to his woes and things snowballed against him but this is the big leagues and players are paid to get a job done on the field and between their ears.

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Cubs designate Marmol, release Stewart

June, 25, 2013
By Staff
The Chicago Cubs designated beleaguered relief pitcher Carlos Marmol for assignment, likely ending Marmol's time with the only team he's played for since entering the big leagues in 2006.

Read the entire story.

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 6, Cubs 1

June, 20, 2013
By Rob Rains
Special to

ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Cubs' offense was dormant again Thursday night, collecting only five hits in a 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

How it happened: One night after they were held to only two hits, the Cubs more than doubled that total to five in this game. One of the hits was a solo homer by Welington Castillo in the third that accounted for their only run. Castillo had two of the team’s four other hits as well, a pair of singles.

In the final 26 innings of the series, the Cubs totaled only 11 hits and scored two runs.

Starlin Castro had another frustrating night, going 0-for-4, dropping him to 1-for-16 in the series. He struck out in his first two at-bats and fouled out with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning before grounding out in the eighth.

Matt Holliday had an RBI single and a home run for the Cardinals, who also got a bases-loaded, two-run, pinch-hit single from Allen Craig in a four-run sixth inning. The damage would have been worse except for a home run-saving catch by center fielder Ryan Sweeney against Matt Adams.

What it means: The loss dropped the Cubs to 3-4 on the road trip to New York and St. Louis, after winning the first two games of the trip. They are now 14-21 on the road this season. Of their six road trips so far this season, the only one that produced a winning record was a three-game trip to Washington in May, when the Cubs won two of the three games.

Outside the box: Carlos Marmol made his first appearance of the series, his first time pitching since blowing the save Sunday in New York.

Manager Dale Sveum said before Thursday night’s game that “it’s not a priority” to get Marmol in a game. “We’ve got a lot of guys in the bullpen. The other times I did want to get him back on the mound. To me, [Sunday] wasn’t like some of the other outings. He just got hit. Before he was throwing balls all over the place,” he said.

Marmol pitched a scoreless eighth inning, allowing an infield hit.

Sveum said the team might make a roster move over the weekend to replace a reliever with a position player.

Up next: The Cubs return home Friday to open a three-game interleague series against the Houston Astros with a 1:20 p.m CT game at Wrigley Field. Matt Garza (1-1, 4.98 ERA) will pitch for the Cubs against left-hander Dallas Keuchel (4-3, 4.23 ERA).

Marmol's struggles put Sveum in a quandry

June, 17, 2013
By Rob Rains
Special To
Carlos MarmolAP Photo/Kathy WillensDespite losing Sunday's game to the Mets, Carlos Marmol is still in the picture for the Cubs.
ST. LOUIS -- What to do with Carlos Marmol?

Much of the discussion before Monday's rain-delayed game between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals concerned reliever Carlos Marmol, whose blown save cost the Cubs a win in New York on Sunday.

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Starlin Castro
.292 14 65 58
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
WJ. Arrieta 10
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167