Chicago Cubs: Who Will Close for the Team in 2012?

Bob WarjaSenior Writer IDecember 26, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 24: Carlos Marmol #49 of the Chicago Cubs throws to a St. Louis Cardinals batter at Busch Stadium on September 24, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Jeff Curry/Getty Images

I know that most everyone thinks that Carlos Marmol is the 2012 closer due to the fact that he will be the most expensive relief pitcher for Chicago next season.

But I hope that Theo Epstein and his band of gypsies see what I see and come up with a better plan for 2012.

Even if Marmol had a good year closing out games for the Cubs, I would still hope that Epstein considers trade offers for Marmol.

That's because, in addition to the fact that I personally do not like or respect the save rule, closers in general fail to garner much value in my world.

Yet even if you believe otherwise, you have to ask yourself one question: What good would it do to have a closer for a team that will likely not contend this year?

And if you can get a real prospect in the trade, despite Marmol's salary and performance, then all the better.

But the reality is that Marmol's salary will trump his worth. Which brings us to our next point.

With the way the Cubs structured Marmol's contact, he will start to get expensive. And if he's not closer material, then that salary could be better utilized somewhere else.

Now, maybe another team chalks up his bad performance to a one-year aberration. Or another team takes a chance that Marmol will rebound, as closers are not always that consistent.

If so, the Cubs must jump on it. And if it happens, who closes for the Cubs?

Well, unless they go by a closer-by-committee mentality, the Cubs would likely turn that job over to Andrew Cashner, who was a closer in college.

If he is healthy, he would be a good candidate, though, the previous regime saw Cashner as a starter. Another in-house possibility is Chris Carpenter.

Meanwhile, Marmol may continue in the role of closer. But if I am looking at the team as an outsider, I'd be easily swayed and would move Marmol in a heartbeat.

After all, you can't save 90 losses.