Chicago Cubs

Marmol-Haren trade falls apart between Cubs and Angels

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Marmol-Haren trade falls apart between Cubs and Angels

The Cubs appeared to be jumping into the offseason with a bold, decisive move, on the verge of trading closer Carlos Marmol to the Los Angeles Angels for Dan Haren, according to multiple reports. But a source said late Friday night that the rumored trade is not happening.

With the Angels facing a deadline to pick up Harens 15.5 million option (they ultimately declined), Marmol leaked word by telling a media outlet back home in the Dominican Republic. At the time, the Cubs would not comment or confirm the deal and maintained their cone of silence.

The Cubs also once thought they had a deal in place to send Ryan Dempster to the Atlanta Braves last summer before it exploded all over Twitter and collapsed.

The Cubs still have a huge hole in their rotation, as well as money to spend and a preference for short-term commitments. Landing Haren would have qualified as a splash for a front office thats cautiously building for the future while trying to put a decent product on the field.

Haren went 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA last season while pitching through some back issues. The 32-year-old right-hander would have had a platform on the North Side, where the Cubs could have suddenly had another frontline arm to go with Jeff Samardzija and Matt Garza. Harens a three-time All-Star who appeared in the Cy Young voting as recently as 2011.

On his personal Twitter account, Garza wished Marmol good luck and said he was looking forward to working with Haren: Gonna be tough to replace a closer like Marmol, for sure! But adding another horse to the stable gives us innings we sorely need!

Its unclear how exactly the talks broke down. The tick-tock updates on social media couldnt have helped close a deal, and this presumably would have involved a significant amount of money changing hands.

Marmol was believed to have received some limited no-trade protection when he agreed to a 20 million extension at the beginning of spring training in 2011, though he reportedly accepted going to the Angels.

Marmol is owed 9.8 million in the final year of his contract, and his days appear to be numbered in the organization where hes spent almost half his life.

For all the anxiety he caused in the ninth inning, Marmol converted 19 straight save chances during one stretch last season, and posted a 1.52 ERA after the All-Star break.

But team president Theo Epstein ideally views the closers job as a chance to give an opportunity to a young reliever from within, or build value after buying low on a free agent.

With the offseason in front on them, the Cubs could still go in that direction.

Marmol signed with the Cubs as a teenager in 1999, and had to be talked into pitching after a few seasons struggling as a catcheroutfielder. He eventually emerged as an All-Star setup guy, and at times a dominant closer, saving 115 games while keeping everyone guessing where his slider was going.

Ifwhen Marmol leaves, there will be only two players remaining from the 2008 team that won 97 games Alfonso Soriano and Jeff Samardzija while Epstein rebuilds the organization in his image.

If the deal had gone through, the next Cubs closer would have been in the same situation as Haren: Bounce back and become a major part of a surprise team that makes it an interesting summer, or get flipped at the trade deadline for prospects. Stay tuned.

What really happened between Jon Lester and Chris Bosio

What really happened between Jon Lester and Chris Bosio

What really happened between Jon Lester and Chris Bosio?

After Lester's early exit from Thursday's game against the Cincinnati Reds, cameras caught the Cubs southpaw appearing to have a confrontation in the home dugout with Bosio, the team's pitching coach.

CSN's David Kaplan did some investigating and said Friday on his morning radio show on ESPN 1000 that Lester was expressing frustration with the Cubs defense. It was not directed to Bosio.

The Cubs were trailing 8-0 in the second inning when Lester left the game with left lat tightness. The Reds eventually tacked on another run to make it 9-0. It was a frustrating inning — to say the least — for the Cubs, who eventually erased the nine-run deficit but failed to complete the comeback in a 13-10 loss.

Kaplan also said an update on Lester should come some time Friday morning, but he isn't expected to miss a serious amount of time. He will likely land on the disabled list, though.

Once again, Javier Baez will be a huge X-factor for Cubs down the stretch

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USA TODAY

Once again, Javier Baez will be a huge X-factor for Cubs down the stretch

Javier Baez flicked his bat and watched the ball rocket in the direction of Waveland Avenue, the last of the back-to-back-to-back homers against Cincinnati Reds starter/Cubs trivia answer Scott Feldman.

That quick strike came during a four-homer fourth inning on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field, where the offense looked explosive and the pitching looked combustible in a 13-10 loss that left the Milwaukee Brewers one game out of first place, the St. Louis Cardinals right behind them and the Cubs awaiting a diagnosis on Jon Lester’s lat injury.

“I know the talent we got,” Baez said. “When they come to play a team like us, we know they’re going to come play hard and obviously play good baseball. They’re going to come to compete, and that’s what we got to do.”

Whatever happens from here – the Cubs are 2-2 so far during a 13-game stretch against last-place teams – you know Baez will be in the middle of the action as the No. 8 hitter with 19 homers this season and a power source with Willson Contreras (strained right hamstring) injured.

This is the starting shortstop until Addison Russell (strained right foot/plantar fasciitis) comes off the disabled list and the unique talent you couldn’t take your eyes off during last year’s playoffs.

“He’s not afraid of anything,” manager Joe Maddon said. “So I don’t care how big or small the game is, he’s going to play the same way. He’s going to do everything pretty much full gorilla all the time.

“Sometimes, he’s going to make a mistake. And that’s OK, because with certain people – with all of us – you got to take the bad with the good. Everybody wants perfection. He’s going to make some mistakes. But most of the time, he’s going to pull off events.”

The night before against the Reds, Baez led off the ninth inning with a line-drive double and scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch. Last week, Statcast clocked him at 16.11 seconds for his inside-the-park homer off the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Over the weekend, he launched another home-run ball 463 feet against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

There are so many different ways Baez can help the Cubs win a game at a time when they don’t have anywhere close to the same margin for error that they did during last season’s joyride into the playoffs.

“I know we often talk about the strikeouts or the big swings,” Maddon said. “But look at his two-strike numbers. Look at his OPS (.808). Look at the run production in general (his 55 RBI match Kris Bryant). It’s been outstanding. And you combine that with first-rate defense.

“Now he’s going to make some mistakes. I’ve talked about that. That’s going to go away with just experience. As he gets older, plays more often, he’s going to make less of those routine mistakes. And the game’s going to get really clean and sharp.”

Until then, Baez will keep taking huge swings, making spectacular plays and trying to cut down on the errors (10 in 334 innings at shortstop, or one less than Russell through 729 innings), because he knows what he means to this team.  

“Javy’s very important,” pitcher Jake Arrieta said. “He’s one of our best defensive players, one of our most athletic players on the team.

“Javy’s got a really big swing, but he’s got a great eye and he handles the bat really well. For as big as his swing is, he still manages to make really good contact. I don’t want him to approach the game any other way than he does right now.”