The Red Sox announced today that they’ve signed right-hander Carlos Marmol to a minor league deal with an invite to Major League Spring Training. He’ll compete for a spot alongside Koji Uehara and Carson Smith as a right-handed setup option for Craig Kimbrel.
Marmol, 33, made a name for himself as the Cubs’ closer from 2009-12, posting gaudy strikeout numbers that helped to cover up highly suspect control. In that stretch, Marmol saved 107 games and recorded a 3.33 ERA with 12.9 K/9 but a woeful 6.7 BB/9 rate. As Marmol’s strikeout rate dipped, so too did his effectiveness. Marmol averaged a sky-high 7.3 walks per nine innings in 2012 and repeated that number in a 2013 season that was split between the Cubs and Dodgers. His last Major League action came in 2014, when he tossed 13 1/3 innings with the Marlins. That season, Marmol yielded an 8.10 ERA and posted a 14-to-10 K/BB ratio before the club cut ties with him.
Marmol spent the 2015 season with Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate, where he posted a brilliant 2.03 ERA in 31 innings but showed the same control issues that have plagued him throughout his career, walking 27 batters in those 31 frames (albeit, against an impressive 48 strikeouts). The problem continued in the Dominican Winter League, where he walked a dozen hitters in seven innings. It’s unlikely that he’ll ever take a meaningful step forward in terms of control, but Marmol’s penchant for missing bats means he’ll likely continue to get opportunities, at least as a depth option.