9:40 AM CST, March 6, 2013
Reports say the Tigers are looking to trade for a closer. Hang loose, Carlos Marmol.
I mean, didn’t the Cubs sign Kyuji Fujikawa precisely because they intended-slash-hoped-slash-tried to trade Marmol?
In fact, the Cubs cut a deal with the Angels last October, but Marmol said no. Then Marmol said yes, but the Cubs said no when either the Angels suddenly wanted to change the financials on the deal or the Cubs didn’t have it right to start with, or something like that.
Whatever, it never came off, but the Cubs wanted Marmol off their roster in October, so why not now?
The Cubs supposedly haven’t talked with the Tigers. Maybe the Tigers are waiting to be approached. Have Dennis Rodman broker a phone call.
Last season, Marmol was yanked from the closer spot, and it was a wonder he still had a uniform. Sometimes he found the sweet spot with his slider. Sometimes the catcher found it coming off the bricks. Sometimes he used his fastball the way the team wanted. Sometimes he went on mental walkabout, and walked about half the stadium.
Sounds like the perfect guy to replace Jose Valverde.
But then Marmol converted 19 straight saves from May 2 to Sept. 14 with a gaudy 0.49 ERA. His trade value couldn’t be higher. The Tigers have money and World Series hopes. They also have Octavio Dotel as their only reliever with significant closer experience after rookie Bruce Rondon channeled his inner Marmol from the start of spring training.
The first Tigers name mentioned these days is starting pitcher Rick Porcello, who is battling for the fifth spot in the Detroit rotation and reportedly is someone the Rangers are considering.
Porcello went 10-12 with a 4.59 ERA for the AL Central champions last season. In his four seasons, Porcello’s WHIP has gone up every year. His hits-per-nine-innings are have shot up in nearly the same painful pace.
But at 24, he’s the right age for Theo Epstein’s template. You can never have enough pitching. Same goes for chocolate and bacon, but that’s not why you’re here.
You can never have enough third basemen, either, if you’re the Cubs. No, wait, you apparently can’t even have one third baseman if you’re the Cubs.
The Cubs’ situation at third base is more pathetic than Mike Quade. And the Cubs are talking about competing for something this season? That’s more laughable than Sammy Sosa’s claims of innocence.
Ian Stewart supposedly was the answer at third base last year. If so, I can’t imagine what the question was.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said the bad and injured Stewart might have trouble making the roster this season because, well, he’s bad and injured.
The other candidates at third are Christian Villanueva, who has trouble hitting, and Junior Lake, who has trouble fielding. So Cub.
Luis Valbuena will win the job because he doesn’t stink as badly as the other guys. Mazel tov, Theo.
Where do the Cubs find these guys? No, wait, why do the Cubs find these guys? This wouldn’t happen if Josh Vitters were alive.
See what I’m saying? It’s a joke that the Cubs don’t have an everyday player at third. Not a real major leaguer, anyway. They haven’t developed a third baseman since Ron Santo, I believe, and before that Harry Steinfeldt.
I didn’t think they would immediately replace Aramis Ramirez’s production, but Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer inherited some pathetic choices and then made it worse.
Right now, the only answer is to declare third base closed the way we did with right field as kids.
Marmol ought to be worth a starting pitcher, especially to a desperate team, and the Tigers are desperate after losing the World Series and Kate Upton.
But failing that, if the Cubs can find a third baseman who knows which end of the bat to hold, say, “Deal.’’
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