Whether they can trade Marmol remains to be seen, but the odds of a contender needing a closer who's owed $13.5 million over the next 11/2 seasons are a lot better than those of someone looking for a middle reliever with that kind of salary.
- LaHair proving to be a keeper, even after Rizzo call-up
VOTE: Why is the City Series attendance down?
- STORY: Cubs starter Dempster on 15-day DL, trade talks on hold
U.S. Cellular Field, 333 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60616, USA
That would include Marmol, who said Monday he was "excited" to return to his old role and wasn't worried about trade talk.
"I haven't talked to Theo," he said. "He hasn't said anything to me about trades. Of course I want to stay. I'm glad to be here. ... All I can control is pitching good."
The LaHair move is much simpler to read. Epstein and manager Dale Sveum are preparing him for his new position when top prospect Anthony Rizzo gets called up from Triple-A Iowa.
"You see the lineup tonight," Epstein said. "We might be taking a look at players in different positions to allow the team to be in a position to succeed when we do potentially make a move."
Rizzo led the Pacific Coast League through Sunday with 23 home runs and a 1.170 OPS, hitting .364. He could come up anytime now, and he would play first base on a daily basis, with LaHair in right and David DeJesus in center.
"I feel like it's going to help our lineup," LaHair said of Rizzo's call-up. "I don't know why it wouldn't."
LaHair, who hit his 13th home run Monday, made nine starts in right and five in left last year after being called up in September. He said he felt comfortable in the outfield and proved it with a running catch of a Gordon Beckham liner in the first.
"LaHair's catch in the first inning was probably as key as anything," Sveum said.
The Cubs wound up with a season-high five homers, including a 440-foot shot to center by Alfonso Soriano.
"I get (ticked) off when the fans treat him the way they do," winning pitcher Matt Garza said. "That's ridiculous. The guy is doing everything he can. He's hit 20 home runs every season. ... He deserves a lot more respect from the fans than what he's getting."
Garza said Soriano's salary has made him a target of Cubs fans.
"When you give somebody the money they give him, fans expect him to be 28 forever," he said. "I'm sorry, but time catches up, and for this guy to still be doing what he does, it's amazing. Not a lot of guys his age can keep doing what he does, and the very few that do it, they're well-respected, and this guy catches grief."