It was only a matter of time before the Chicago Cubs made a change. Carlos Marmol has never proven himself capable of handling Major League closer duties. He lost his job early last season only to earn it back. And now, he's lost it again.
Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago says the Cubs stripped Marmol of his closing duties after three outings that resulted in stressful situations and one blown save. Marmol was on the hill trying to close out the game on Saturday when B.J. Upton tied the game with a home run. His brother, Justin Upton, then won the game with a home run. It was great feat if you are a baseball fan or a Braves fan. If you are a Cubs fan, it was an embarrassment.
GM Jed Hoyer said the decision to remove Marmol was a relatively simple one.
"We've had three games that have been winnable games this year and all three have been an adventure," general manager Jed Hoyer said. "So the decision was fairly easy."
Saturday's loss was the first game that Marmol had actually blown, but he looked poised to do so in any of his three appearances. His results should come as no surprise considering his track record. This past spring, Marmol posted a 6.97 ERA. Last season, he only saved 20 games after losing the closer gig for a period of time.
Injury is not a factor in Marmol's move to a more normal relief role. He had no indications of injury during spring or in any of his three outings this season. Kyuji Fujikawa who will take over closer duties, hinted at a problem with Marmol, but it is likely he was simply referring to Marmol's struggles.
"I came into the season with the mindset of a set-up man," Fujikawa said through his interpreter. "Once Marmol's condition gets better I think there is a chance he'll come back. We all have to fight through it."
In his career, Marmol has 116 saves. He has a high ERA for a closer, though. Marmol has a 3.45 ERA over the course of seven seasons and three appearances this year. The Cubs do not want to keep shifting their bullpen around, so they hope Fujikawa can make an impact and keep the job long-term.
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