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Cubs Thu Jun 27 2013

Marmol's Wild Cubs Career Comes To Predictable End

Cubs_200.pngThe good days were so few and far between that it seemed like months since Carlos Marmol was able to pitch a clean inning without allowing a base runner. The truth is, he threw one as recently as June 14th nary a hit or a walk -- it just took him 20 pitches to do so. All of the bad started blurring together, and it led to the Cubs designating the former star for assignment.

The process was never easy with Marmol. Even when he was a dominant reliever from 2007-2010, he issued a ton of free passes to the tune of 15 percent of the batters he faced for his career, and never getting below 10 percent in any given season. He got away with the wildness by having one of the most devastating sliders in the history of the game, combined with a fastball that moved just far enough with barely enough velocity to make the slider something players feared. If opponents hit it, the contact was weak...if they hit it.

Though Marmol pitched incredibly well in the second half of 2012, he couldn't even warm up during a game in Chicago without hearing the boo-birds this season. They had a good reason for it too. With a 5.86 ERA and allowing nearly a walk an inning to go along with six home runs allowed, he's lucky he didn't start getting a standing ovation every time he came into a game on the road.

The Cubs had been itching to trade him since his hot streak late last season, but no contender wants a pitcher they can't trust to throw strikes in key situations. Why give up a prospect or pay the money when they probably have a youngster in the organization that could do the same thing for the Major League minimum?

His departure moves the club one step closer to ridding itself of the ludicrous contracts that Jim Hendry signed during his time as general manager. But you can't fault Marmol for signing the deal he was offered. Hell, it might not even be his fault that he struggled so much in recent years. The previous regime rode him hard over the four year stretch when his slider was working. He finished in the top 10 in relief appearances from 2008-2011, and fired 69 innings in 2007 in what was quite possibly his most electric season (1.43 ERA, 96 K, 35 BB). Even Dusty Baker thinks that's a lot of work for one guy.

His performances were becoming a distraction to the team according to general manager Jed Hoyer, and with the team rebuilding from the ground up, it was time for Marmol to go. No longer will the hashtag #Marmoled be trending in Chicago during late, close Cubs games. No more walking the bases loaded just to see if he could battle his way out of a jam. No more slider that literally made opponents' knees buckle -- but that was gone long ago.

If you choose to remember the Marmol that most people booed during the past couple seasons, that's your prerogative. But now that he's gone, and we take stock of his entire career, don't forget about those magical four years where he struck out 441 of the 1300 batters he faced. They were sure fun to watch.

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