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Now that Carlos Marmol has once again been removed from the Cubs’ closer job, his future with the team is once again cast into uncertainty.
The 2012 season saw two Carlos Marmols. In the first half of the season Marmol was downright awful.
Pitching 25.2 innings in 31 appearances, Marmol gave up 20 hits, 18 runs and 28 walks, earning himself a 5.61 ERA.
But then he turned things around in the second half of the season.
In the second half of 2012 Marmol made 30 appearances, pitching 29.2 innings. He surrendered the same number of hits as the first half, but gave up only six runs and 17 walks while striking out 39 batters, finishing the season with a 3.42 ERA.
So the Cubs tried to strike while the iron was hot and worked out a deal to send the up-and-down reliever to Anaheim in exchange for Dan Haren. When that trade fell through due to the Cubs’ concerns about Haren’s medicals, the club was stuck with a relief pitcher who knew full well his team tried to trade him.
The Cubs then would state, like some sort of incantation, “Carlos Marmol is our closer” whenever a microphone or recorder was shoved in their faces—even if the question was about the weather.
Even after the near debacle on Opening Day, Marmol was twice more trotted out to mound in the ninth inning to close out the game—reminiscent of Dusty Baker’s treatment of LaTroy Hawkins.
Then this past weekend—similar to last season—Marmol was removed as the club’s closer.
The plan now is to have him pitch in less stressful situations. But what is the team’s plan for the much maligned reliever going forward?