Marmol happy to be back ... in first place

Marmol happy to be back ... in first place
August 1, 2013, 5:45 pm
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Vinnie Duber

It’s been a month since the Cubs traded Carlos Marmol to the Dodgers after parts of eight seasons on the North Side. And though Marmol’s luck hasn’t changed too much since moving to L.A., his mood is as upbeat as ever.

“It feels great being with a new team, being in first place,” Marmol said in the visitor’s clubhouse at Wrigley Field, an uncommon place for him to be sitting. “It’s been great.”

The old adage goes that winning cures all ills, and though the reliever’s ERA is a monstrous 13.50 after just 2 2/3 innings of work for the Dodgers, he’s been with the team as it’s become one of baseball’s best.

Since Marmol joined the big league team on July 23, the Dodgers are 6-2, just the most recent part of an incredible stretch that’s seen them go from 9 1/2 games out of first place in the National League West to a 2 1/2 game division lead in just over a month.

“It’s a lot different because you’re on a team that’s winning every day. It’s a lot of fun,” Marmol said of the difference between his new team and his old. “I’m not going to say that there’s bad people there (on the Cubs). There’s a lot of good people there, good teammates. But here’s better because we’re winning.”

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Marmol’s time in Chicago was a tumultuous one. He went from one of the team’s biggest contributors to one of the fan base’s favorite targets for boos and jeers. He was part of playoff teams during his first two full seasons with the team in 2007 and 2008. In ’07 he finished 26th in voting for the NL MVP, and in ’08 he was an NL All Star. In 2010 and 2011, he saved a total of 72 games.

But control problems and a litany of late-inning collapses followed, and several bad performances earlier this season served as the straw that broke the camel’s back, with Marmol being first designated for assignment and then dealt.

Though Marmol said he has no ill feelings toward the Cubs.

“No, no, no,” he assured. “Like I said, that’s business. When you’ve got to move, you’ve got to move. Time to go? Time to go.”

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As for how he was treated by the fans, he acknowledged that they didn’t seem to remember the good times.

“Yeah, but they forget about that,” Marmol said. “That’s the way it happens, though. I played almost eight years there. ... Time to move on, I moved on. It is what it is.”

It probably won’t be hard to predict how they’ll again treat Marmol if he does enter during this weekend’s four-game set between the Cubs and Dodgers at Wrigley.

But former 2013 Cubs returning to the Friendly Confines likely won’t be limited to Marmol in the coming months and into next season. The Cubs made a bunch of trades before Wednesday’s trade deadline and could make even more before this season is over. One name mentioned to Marmol was Alfonso Soriano, a teammate of his for all but 19 of the games he played as a Cub. Marmol said he talked to Soriano the other day and confirmed that Soriano is happy to be back with the Yankees.

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But what about this weekend? Cubs manager Dale Sveum was asked if there’d be any extra incentive or motivation for Marmol, as well as the reliever he was traded for, current Cubs pitcher Matt Guerrier.

“I think there is,” Sveum said. “I’ve been traded a couple times. I think the motivation is there. It’s a different game, that’s for sure. It’s different when you play the team you’ve been traded from.”

With them taking up the vast majority of his big league career, it’s unclear whether or not Marmol has put his Cubs days behind him -- he listed the 2007 and 2008 playoff teams as his favorite memories with the team -- but one thing is for sure: He’s quite pleased to be with a team succeeding the way the Dodgers are.

“I can say I feel great wearing a new uniform,” Marmol said. “I’m in first place right now. I am so happy.”