Cubs: Marmol insists he’s innocent in potential blackmail case

Cubs: Marmol insists he’s innocent in potential blackmail case
February 11, 2013, 1:30 pm
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MESA, Ariz. – Carlos Marmol maintained his innocence and insisted that he’s the target of an attempted blackmail in the Dominican Republic.

Marmol reported to Fitch Park on Monday and said “I didn’t do anything” at least six times during a news conference that lasted less than nine minutes.

Marmol acknowledged that he may have to go back to the Dominican at some point to resolve the legal matter – which was moved to a higher court last week – and confirmed that his lawyers have filed a countersuit.

Marmol said he first learned about the sexual-assault allegations last fall, when a friend heard about it on a local radio station. He insisted that he had only a given a woman a ride home after a party. The female acquaintance, he said, had grown up in the same small town in the Dominican.

The Cubs have looked into the situation and supported their closer in the civil case. Team president Theo Epstein said the information they’ve gathered so far backs up Marmol’s story. Epstein even said that Marmol “may in fact be the victim here.”      

“We got money, we play baseball, you know, they think that everybody’s stupid,” Marmol said. “They’re trying to make money.

“They tried to hurt me because everybody knows me in the Dominican. They tried to make me scared because they’re going (after) my reputation in baseball and my future. That’s an easy way to (get) money, but I’m not going to give (them) my money. I didn’t do anything.”

The incident is believed to have occurred in late October, though Epstein said the Cubs had no knowledge of it while they were trying to finalize a trade with the Los Angeles Angels in early November.

“I was ready to go to the Angels,” Marmol said.

Marmol had reluctantly waived his limited no-trade rights and said his agent told him that Major League Baseball had approved the potential deal. Ultimately, the Cubs had concerns about Dan Haren’s physical condition, as well as the financial details, and pulled the plug.  

“I’m happy that I’m still here,” Marmol said. “Everybody knows I always (say) I love the Cubs. I love being in Chicago. I’m glad that they didn’t make a trade.”

The Cubs are already planning for a future without Marmol, who will earn $9.8 million in the final year of his contract. Kyuji Fujikawa may not be the closer on Opening Day, but he’s under club control through 2015, making him a long-term solution and a possible core piece for the rebuild.

Marmol lost his job last May, but gradually began to regain the trust of manager Dale Sveum by using his fastball more and following the game plan. He posted a 1.52 ERA in 30 games after the All-Star break and converted 19 straight save chances at one point.

“I still believe in myself,” Marmol said. “Theo told me that I’m going to be in the closer’s role. It’s good we signed a good bullpen guy.”

Marmol said he’s “very pissed off” by the extortion attempt, but appreciates the support from the organization. He doesn’t believe this will impact his performance on the field.  

“The Cubs know,” Marmol said. “They believe me and I know myself. I don’t worry about this because I know what I feel. I know who I am. I didn’t do anything.”