Chicago Cubs

Marmols the final piece to Cubs offseason

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Marmols the final piece to Cubs offseason

Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011
Posted: 7:30 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

Win or lose, the Cubs say Carlos Marmol is the same person the next day. Hes about to become exponentially richer. Its just a matter of how much.

The Cubs did not reach an agreement with Marmol on Tuesday the day to exchange salary arbitration figures but they are discussing options for a one-year deal or multi-year extension with his representative. They do not expect to bring this to a hearing.

The Cubs came to terms on Tuesday with their other remaining arbitration-eligible players pitchers Matt Garza, Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall.

Garza received a one-year deal worth 5.95 million and his acquisition essentially forced out Gorzelanny. The ice storm that shut down Washington is expected to delay Gorzelannys physical until Wednesday. Once completed, the Cubs will obtain three prospects and the Nationals will take on Gorzelannys 2.1 million contract for 2011.

Marshall who many around the Cubs considered to be the teams MVP last season agreed to the security of a two-year deal. The left-handed reliever has settled in the Chicago suburbs and will be due 1.6 million this season and 3.1 million in 2012.

Marshall went 7-5 with a 2.65 ERA in 80 games last year, becoming such a vital part of the bullpen that its almost impossible to move him back into the rotation.

The end game with Marmol is basically the last major offseason item remaining for Jim Hendry. The general manager and his staff were able to structure the contracts in a way that they will pay Garza, first baseman Carlos Pena and reliever Kerry Wood less than 11 million in 2011 dollars.

The bill to address those three needs will ultimately be closer to 17.5 million Pena accepted a signing bonus and deferred money plus the cost of prospects and Woods understood future role somewhere in the organization.

Those economic gymnastics were needed to hit budget. The major-league payroll will be less than the approximately 145 million committed for Opening Day 2010, probably closer to 130-135 million.

Marmol dominated in his first full season as closer while earning 2.125 million. The right-hander with the wicked slider saved 38 of his teams 75 victories. He did not allow a run after Aug. 25, finishing with a 2.55 ERA.

Marmols agent, Barry Praver, would have liked just one more strikeout, because then he could have pointed to an even 16 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. As it stands, Marmols 15.99 strikeouts per nine innings pitched last season was the highest for a reliever in major-league history.

Yes, Marmol is wild at times, but a band appears to be forming for closers. David Aardsma settled for 4.5 million with the Mariners on Tuesday, while the Red Sox gave 12 million to Jonathan Papelbon.

Until last year with Ryan Theriot, Hendry had never taken a player to arbitration in more than a decade as a Cubs executive.

The Cubs like Marmols makeup and how the 28-year-old easily forgets a bad game. They recognize the value of being able to close in front of 40,000 screaming fans at Wrigley Field. Its just a question of what price the two sides put on that extraordinary ability.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs and Sox gear up for the decisive Game 4 in the Crosstown Cup

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs and Sox gear up for the decisive Game 4 in the Crosstown Cup

Sports Talk Live is on location at Guaranteed Rate Field to preview the decisive Game 4 of the Crosstown Cup. 

Kap is joined by David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic), David DeJesus and Scott Podsednik. 

Plus new Cubs outfielder Jon Jay talks about his first season with the Northsiders .

Listen here. 

Even as they find their offensive groove, Cubs know there's more left in the tank

Even as they find their offensive groove, Cubs know there's more left in the tank

221.

That's how many pitches the Cubs saw during Wednesday night's 8-3 win over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

11.

That's the amount of runners the Cubs left on base Wednesday.

To Joe Maddon, those numbers don't quite add up.

The Cubs had 20 baserunners on 10 hits, eight walks and a pair of errors committed by Sox fielders. Yet they only plated eight, going 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Over the last two games, the Cubs have seen 412 pitches and scored 15 runs, but they've also left 24 guys on base and and gone just 9-for-33 with runners in scoring position.

"The proverbial grinding of the at-bats has been there," Maddon said after Wednesday's game. "[221 pitches], you'd think we'd score — I'm not talking about being greedy — we need to capitalize more.

"Eleven runners left on base. Again, I'm not complaining. Just the fact that we have to be more efficient as we move further along. Keep working those at-bats and I think if we do, at some point, it's gotta catch up to us in a positive way where it comes back to us and the ball's gotta fall in better moments, too."

The Cubs have gotten out to a 10-2 start to the season's second half, averaging six runs a game during that stretch and forcing the opposition to throw 154.5 pitches per game.

The Cubs have rapped out 124 hits in those 12 games as opposing pitchers have only recorded four quality starts.

And for all the issues with runners in scoring position in the first half, Anthony Rizzo and Co. are hitting .293 (37-for-126) with guys in scoring position since the All-Star Break. (Even with that, they're still only 27th in baseball with a .238 average with RISP, showing just how much the team underperformend in that area in the first half.)

The Cubs are starting to look more and more like the 2016 version of themselves as a host of other players — led by Willson Contreras, Addison Russell and Ben Zobrist — have joined Bryzzo in consistently contributing offensively.

"It's very rare when you have a game where everybody hits to their full potential," said Rizzo, who had three hits and drove in four runs Wednesday. "It's guys carrying the load one day and some other guys doing it the next day."

That's been a different script than the one the Cubs were playing off of in the first three months of the season, when only Kris Bryant and Rizzo were reaching their offensive potential.

As the Cubs hit their stride and gear up for the stretch run, they're finally starting to click offensively.

And what's scary is there's still more left in the tank.

"We don't wanna leave guys on, but we want to keep putting guys on to give ourselves opportunity," Rizzo said. "As long as we come away with the win, it doesn't matter.

"We're putting together good at-bats as a unit. [Seeing a lot of pitches] is a good formula for us. We know that if we grind at-bats, good things will happen."