Darn. I have Carlos Marmol on one of my fantasy teams.
It looks like Kevin Gregg has been anointed the Cubs' 2009 closer, besting the heavily-favored (and from I'm reading, heavily disappointed) Marmol. It's hard to dispute Lou Pinella's call on this one. In nine appearances, Gregg has given up no runs, four hits, and has struck out 10. You really couldn't have asked him to do much better. Marmol, on the other hand, has a 4.50 ERA and has hit five batters, something that is being blamed at least partially on the dry Arizona heat, which keeps his filthy slider from moving like it should.
I do like Marmol and see him as the Cubs' closer in the future. Gregg is signed for this year only, and if he's effective, the Cubs will probably not try to retain him at a heavily inflated price, given that they will still have Marmol in-house. Marmol will get his chances to make a difference. This guy has a special talent, and his contribution was enormous last season. Putting him in the setup role again this season gives the Cubs one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball. Besides, if for some reason Gregg can't seem to handle the pressures of closing games at Wrigley, Marmol is only a bullpen call away.
It seems that the amazing story of Koyie Hill will play to fruition, as the man who had his fingers severed in a horrific table saw accident is now officially the Cubs' backup catcher. Chicago just released veteran Paul Bako and are going with Hill, a move that from all accounts is exactly what the fans wanted to see. No disrespect to Bako. He is a seasoned pro, but I thought Hill would be the better selection from the start and questioned the signing of Bako to begin with.
So, with those questions answered, the only ones that remain involve the remaining bullpen spots. Aaron Heilman, Luis Vizcaino, and Neal Cotts appear to be set along with Marmol and Gregg, leaving two spots open. Chad Gaudin, Angel Guzman, Chad Fox, Jeff Samardzija and David Patton are the guys vying for those spots, and if I had my way, I'd go with Fox and Patton. Gaudin has been Gaud-awful (10.54 ERA) as has Guzman (8.71 ERA). Samardzija looked a little sharper today, but should go to AAA Iowa to fine tune some things. Fox could also go to Iowa, since he is on a Minor League deal and currently is not on the 40-man roster, but he has ben pretty effective so far (nine strikeouts in 10 innings and a 2.70 ERA). Patton, the Rule-5 pick who has never played above Class-A ball, has been outstanding (12 strikeouts in 10.2 innings and a 0.84 ERA). You'd hate to see the Cubs give him back if he's the real deal.
Just my opinion.