The Cubs are going nowhere and looking to dump any and all big contracts that won’t be of assistance to them when they begin to turn things around.
They have some good young talent and aren’t as far away from that end with a new cast of characters as the Cub-bashers would have you believe. But they have to get rid of some big salaries first.
No one is taking Alfonso Soriano.
But if the Cubs are truly looking to get multiple pieces for one player, they can forget that plan with the above-mentioned names. In order to do that, they need to look at their valuable and controllable assets and consider trading them.
Their most marketable asset might be closer Carlos Marmol.
Last night he reverted into his frightening displays wildness as he blew the game against the Marlins. But that gack aside, Marmol still has major strikeout numbers (52 in 42 innings pitched); his walk numbers are about what they’ve usually been for his career (26); he’s only allowed 2 homers; and his ERA has been bloated by two atrocious games, one in late May against the Astros and last night.
He’s been undone a great deal by the Cubs porous infield defense, an issue that would be repaired if a team like the Phillies or Rangers made a move on him because both play excellent infield defense. The Cardinals can use him too, but I think we can count out the idea of the Cubs sending anyone to the Cardinals unless they get truly desperate, the Cardinals get stupid, or both.
The Phillies are going to need a closer after this season. It’s hard to imagine them rolling the dice with their star-studded starting rotation and using Michael Stutes in the role; Antonio Bastardo is still new to closing; Brad Lidge has a contract option that isn’t going to be picked up. Trading for Marmol is better than signing Jonathan Papelbon because he’s cheaper and probably more effective.
The Rangers could use him as a set-up man for the rest of the season and be free to move Neftali Feliz into the rotation next year secure in the fact that they have someone proven to take over in the role.
Marmol’s signed through 2013 and any team acquiring him would be on the hook for slightly over $17 million. For a proven closer at age 28, that’s great value for a strikeout machine.
The Cubs are ready to do business. If they’re willing to listen on Marmol, teams should make a bid.
It’d take a lot to get him, but he’s highly underrated and could very well be worth it in 2011 and beyond.