Carlos Marmol found himself in the middle of another perfect Internet storm, denying a report that he wants out of Chicago.
The Cubs had their version of Spygate on Wednesday, when Marmol met with his agent, Paul Kinzer, in the lobby of his apartment building. A fan eavesdropped on the conversations and sent photos and play-by-play commentary over Twitter to Bleacher Nation, a clearinghouse for Cubs news and rumors.
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The popular Cubs blog ran this headline: “Overheard: Carlos Marmol ‘Can’t Wait’ to Get Out of Chicago.” The meeting included Scott Nelson, the former Cubs director of baseball operations who now works with Kinzer.
Sitting at his locker in the Wrigley Field clubhouse, Marmol had no idea until a reporter showed it to him on his iPhone. He was spotted in a black T-shirt and white Air Jordan shorts. He said a friend noticed someone taking pictures but didn’t realize they were being spied on at that point.
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“I didn’t know if the guy knows me or whatever or why he said that,” Marmol said. “It’s kind of a joke. I don’t know what to say.”
Marmol – who’s making $9.8 million in the final year of his contract – lost his closer’s job during the first week of the season. According to the online report, the group nodded when someone at the sit-down said “too bad Milwaukee isn’t doing well, that could have been an option.”
“I don’t feel bad because it’s not true,” Marmol said. “Honestly, that’s not going to come out of my mouth.”
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Kinzer – whose clients include Starlin Castro and ex-Cubs like Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto – makes regular trips to Chicago. He has attended Cubs Convention and last year brought Carlos Correa – who turned out to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Astros – to Wrigley Field for a pre-draft workout.
Marmol laughed when a reporter asked if he’s going to Milwaukee: “I’m not going (anywhere).”
“I’m very happy here,” Marmol said. “I can’t wait until they do something and I can stay here. You know that I always talk about how I love Chicago. I love being here. I love my teammates. I love everybody here.”
The Cubs tried to move Marmol last November, when he waived his limited no-trade rights and approved a trade to the Los Angeles Angels. Marmol misunderstood and thought it was a done deal, relaying the news through media outlets back home in the Dominican Republic. That caught fire on Twitter before the Cubs pulled out of the deal over medical/financial concerns about pitcher Dan Haren.
Twitter lights up when Marmol begins warming up during a close game, and he got booed during the pregame player introductions at last month’s home opener. Now in his 14th season in the organization, he said he doesn’t need a fresh start.
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“No, I feel good here,” he said. “I’m not going (anywhere).”
With that hard-to-repeat delivery, Marmol has a 5.40 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP that’s killed his trade value. But he also broke Lee Smith’s franchise record for relief appearances earlier this month, and emerged as a weapon for those teams that won back-to-back division titles in 2007 and 2008. Don’t forget that his 2010 season – 38 saves for a 75-win team and 138 strikeouts in 77.2 innings – was so dominant.
Win or lose, traded or not, Marmol always stands in front of his locker and takes the heat. He walked through the dugout and stopped on his way out to the field for batting practice. He posed for the beat writers with a big smile on his face.
“Take a picture,” Marmol said. “Tell ‘em I’m here.”