Carlos Marmol Rumors
- The Cubs aren't focused on former Red Sox skipper Terry Francona and aren't likely to pursue a current manager, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein reached out to Sandberg to explain why he's not being considered for the managerial job, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
- GM Jed Hoyer suggested the Cubs will spend some time rebuilding their pitching staff, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Long before he was a Major League GM, Hoyer was a skilled fantasy baseball player, according to the Sun-Times. Hoyer excelled in fantasy leagues as a youngster, even against adult professionals. For fantasy news on relief pitchers, check out CloserNews.com.
- On a related note, Hoyer says he expects Carlos Marmol to close next year, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
- Epstein, Hoyer and the rest of the front office are a team, but the GM remains impressed by Epstein's ability. "When he turns it on, it's pretty clear he has a gear the rest of us don't have," Hoyer said, according to Sullivan.
- Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry graciously said the team hit a "home run" by hiring Epstein, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. "Tom Ricketts did the city of Chicago and the Cubs organization a great service by hiring Theo," Hendry said. The former GM hasn't ruled out returning to the game, but he's enjoying some time off for now. Hoyer said he's looking forward to reaching out to Hendry, according to Sullivan.
- The Cubs don't have to pay Aramis Ramirez's $2MM buyout, since he declined his side of his contract option for 2012, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
The Cubs agreed to a three-year extension with closer Carlos Marmol, avoiding arbitration, the team announced. Marmol's deal is worth $20MM over three years, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (on Twitter). Marmol will earn $3.2MM in 2011, $7MM in 2012 and $9.8MM in 2013, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat (on Twitter).
The 28-year-old right-hander struck out a career-high 16 batters per nine innings last year, saving 38 games and posting a 2.55 ERA. He walked lots of batters (6.0 BB/9) as usual and was exceptionally difficult to hit (4.6 H/9). Marmol's new deal keeps him in Chicago through his age-30 season.
The contract buys out Marmol's two remaining seasons of arbitration eligibility and covers his first free agent season. Agent Barry Praver represents Marmol, who earned $2.125MM last year.
As MLBTR's Arb Tracker shows, this is the second time this offseason the Cubs have agreed to an extension with an arbitration eligible pitcher. They signed Sean Marshall to a two-year deal last month. Only five arbitration eligible players remain unsigned for 2011: Jose Bautista, Kelly Johnson, Hunter Pence, Rickie Weeks and Delmon Young.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the agreement.
FEBRUARY 13TH: The deal is expected to be for three years and worth around $23MM, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
12:54pm: Marmol's agent, Barry Praver, arrived at Fitch Park in Arizona today to finalize a multiyear deal for the closer, tweets Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The contract extension is expected to be announced Monday, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (via Twitter).
FEBRUARY 3RD: The Cubs are close to signing closer Carlos Marmol to a long-term contract extension, according to Fred Mitchell and David Kaplan of the Chicago Tribune. The new deal is expected to be announced before Cubs pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training in Mesa, Arizona on February 13th.
The deal would buy out Marmol's remaining two years of arbitration eligibility for 2011 and '12 and perhaps lock him up beyond that. The righty had asked for $5.65MM in arbitration with the Cubs countering at $4.1MM. Marmol is the Cubs' final remaining arbitration-eligible player, as our Arbitration Tracker shows.
Marmol, 28, is coming off an excellent season in which he posted a 2.55 ERA and a whopping 16.0 K/9 en route to 38 saves. He gets it done with an extreme blend of strikeouts, walks, and flyballs.
The Cubs and Marmol have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Feb. 15, but whether it be a one- or multiyear deal, Hendry said that he doesn't think the hearing will come to fruition, noting that he has a long-standing relationship with Marmol's agent, Barry Praver.
The North Siders prefer to ink Marmol to a three-year deal in the range of $22-25MM, according to Levine, which would buy out the right-hander's two remaining years of arbitration eligibility as well as one year of potential free agency. Marmol is seeking $5.65MM for 2011 while the Cubs have submitted a figure of $4.1MM, rendering a midpoint of $4.88MM, as our Arbitration Tracker shows.
Marmol reported to Spring Training in Mesa, Arizona, on Saturday and took a physical, indicating that a pre-hearing agreement may be imminent.
Links for Saturday..
- Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun called the Orioles' signing of pitcher Justin Duchscherer the latest "late-winter Hail Mary" by GM Andy MacPhail.
- C.C. Sabathia told Mark Hale of the New York Post that he isn't concerned about the Yankees' rotation.
- Carlos Marmol took his physical in Mesa, Arizona today, tweets Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. Marmol and the Cubs should finalize a long-term deal this week.
- The Nationals still have loose ends to tie up from the Esmailyn Gonzalez scandal, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- Tom Singer of MLB.com will be keeping a close eye on Jonathan Broxton of the Dodgers as he looks to get his career back on track this season. Recently our own Mike Axisa characterized 2011 as a make or break year for the closer as he approaches free agency.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the Cardinals and outfielder Jim Edmonds have not yet scheduled the physical that he needs to pass in order to finalize his minor league deal with the club. GM John Mozeliak confirmed that the agreement is open-ended in order to allow Edmonds time to recover from foot surgery before taking the physical.
- After signing a one-year, $4MM this winter, Aaron Harang is looking to return to old form with the Padres, writes Don Norcross of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
- Meanwhile, Eric Chavez is looking for a fresh start with the Yankees, writes Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News.
The Cubs already signed Sean Marshall to a two-year contract today, and now they're trying to get closer Carlos Marmol under contract beyond 2011 as well. Gordon Wittenmyer of The Chicago Sun-Times tweets the two sides are in talks about a multiyear deal, and that neither side expects to go to an arbitration hearing.
Marmol, 28, earned $2.125MM in 2010, which was the first time he was eligible for arbitration in his career. Back in October MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted that Marmol will jump past a $4MM salary in his second time through the process. The right-hander saved 38 games this past season, striking out a ridiculous 16.0 batters per nine innings.
Baseball was an afterthought on most international sports pages this morning, due to FBC Barcelona's 5-0 humiliation of Real Madrid, but links in Spanish still abound...
- Carlos Marmol confirmed that he and the Cubs are in discussions about a long-term extension, talking to Hoy's Dionisio Soldevila. "There still isn't anything, but we're talking," Marmol said. "I would like to sign something long and stay with the team."
- Derek Jeter's double-play partner Robinson Cano thinks the shortstop "would retire before he would go to another team," Cano told Soldevila on his Dominican talk show La Semana Deportiva.
- The Rays released Cuban first baseman Jose Julio Ruiz in mid-November, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. After a long and complicated courtship, the team signed Ruiz to a minor-league deal last June and had until November 15 to offer him a $4MM major league contract. He showed little of his reputed power over the summer in brief stints with Double-A Montgomery and in the Arizona Fall League. Less than a year ago, Ruiz seemed like the most promising Cuban power hitter since Kendry Morales, drawing interest from numerous teams and being rumored as a possible successor to David Ortiz in Boston.
Carlos Zambrano has not asked for a trade and the Cubs have not asked him to waive his no-trade clause, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. The Cubs did meet with Zambrano’s agent, Barry Praver, but the sides didn’t discuss trading the right-hander. Here are the details on the Cubs and White Sox:
- Praver and the Cubs also discussed Carlos Marmol, an offseason extension candidate who may be offered a long-term deal.
- Cubs GM Jim Hendry acknowledged the team’s need for a first baseman and said he anticipates “more volume at that position than what people need at that position."
- The Cubs have not yet talked to the agents for Adam Dunn, but the White Sox are still targeting the slugger. The Tigers are interested in Dunn, but ESPN.com's Jayson Stark heard that the Cubs may not pursue him as aggressively as expected.
- Levine hears that the White Sox are not shopping Carlos Quentin. Stark reported yesterday that the Phillies have interest in Quentin.
Carlos Marmol and the Cubs agreed to a one-year, $2.125MM contract last February as the reliever and club avoided a hearing in Marmol's first arbitration season. The deal gave Marmol almost four times what he earned in 2009, and he'll be up for another big raise this winter whether he and the Cubs work out another one-year deal or if they pursue a longer-term option.
Marmol took over as Chicago's closer midway through the 2009 season, but his control problems made some wonder whether Marmol could last in the role. While Marmol is still walking more batters than the Cubs would like (a 6.1 BB/9 rate), it's still an improvement over the 7.9 BB/9 rate that he posted last year. More importantly, Marmol has also improved his ERA, WHIP, hits/9 rate and K/BB ratio from 2009, and upped his already-impressive 11.3 K/9 rate last season to a whopping 15.9 K/9 in 2010. His 62 games finished are also the most in baseball.
Should the Cubs wish to pursue a one-year deal with Marmol again, Heath Bell's one-year, $4MM deal with the Padres last winter is a suitable model. Bell, like Marmol, was coming off his first season as his team's closer and delivered an All-Star performance. Bell's 2009 and Marmol's 2010 were pretty similarly impressive --- Bell had the better K/BB ratio, BB/9 and WHIP, while Marmol has the superior K/9 rate, HR/9, hits/9, and has already thrown more innings. Bell did have the advantage of pitching at PETCO Park, so between that and inflation, Marmol has an argument that he should earn closer to $5MM than $4MM.
In terms of a multi-year option, Marmol and agent Barry Praver will look at Brian Wilson's two-year, $15MM extension with San Francisco as a starting point. While Wilson has certainly pitched well enough this season to lower some of the eyebrows that were raised when he signed that extension last winter, the Cubs may hesitate to commit that much money to Marmol given his still-present control issues. It should be noted, however, that even with Marmol's 2009 wildness, he still put up a 3.41 ERA and held opposing batters to a .170 average, so it's not like he pitched poorly. If Marmol's 2011 season is akin to his 2009, it would still be a campaign that the Cubs wouldn't feel sick about paying around $7.5MM to keep.
Given Marmol's high ceiling, the Cubs might be wise to shoot for an option-heavy contract similar to the one that their ex-closer Kevin Gregg received from the Blue Jays last winter. Gregg received $2.75MM for 2010, and the Jays can pick up a 2011 option for $4.5MM or an option for both 2011 and 2012 for a total of $8.75MM. Obviously Toronto was able to get such a team-friendly deal since Gregg struggled in 2009, but if the Cubs double the dollar amounts, Marmol might accept the cost-certainty. The last option year (that would theoretically cover Marmol's first free agent year) could be adjusted to a mutual option, giving Marmol the ability to walk away after 2012 if he thinks there's an eight-figure offer on the market. If Marmol keeps up his form from the last four seasons, such an offer would certainly exist.
Chicago already has approximately $103MM committed to next year's payroll, and that's not counting the pay bump that Geovany Soto (an extension candidate himself) will get in his first year of arbitration. Given the fungibility of relief pitching, the Cubs may lock up Marmol for next year and revisit his contract situation next offseason, thus taking the risk of having to pay more in 2012 for a pitcher who is on the cusp of being one of baseball's elite closers. Either that or a combination of the Wilson and Gregg contracts --- a two-year, $15MM deal with a team option to buy out Marmol's first free agent year for $10MM.
Here's a list of players avoiding arbitration hearings...
- The Cubs reached an agreement with closer Carlos Marmol, according to a team press release. MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweets that they settled at the midpoint, $2.125MM. Ryan Theriot ($800K gap) represents the Cubs' lone remaining arbitration case. Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald wrote yesterday that he feels the Cubs are headed toward their first hearing since '93, given a difference of opinion with their shortstop.