Not long after Danny Knobler opened the "Tigers are on the prowl for a closer" floodgates this afternoon, Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reported Cubs closer Carlos Marmol was on the trading block.
According to the usual suspects known as league sources, Levine claims the Tigers are one of several teams "taking a hard look" at Marmol. In return for their closer, the Cubbies want something every team wants, yet never has enough of, young pitching.
Coming off a 20 save season in 2012 (115 for his career), Marmol is in the final year of his contract and will make $10 million in 2013. And you thought Jose Valverde was overpaid...
Marmol has what you love to see in a closer, a high strikeout rate. He also has what you hate to see in a closer, a walk rate nearly as high. Marmol had an elite strikeout per nine inning ratio of 11.7 in 2012 (it's also his career K/9 rate). But his career walks per nine innings is a not so hot 6.0 and was a scary high 7.3 last season. For comparison's sake, Jose Valverde's BB/9 was 3.5, and fans complained about his lack of command.
Marmol was as good as he's ever been in the second half of last season. In 30 post All-Star break games, Marmol converted 12 of 13 saves with a 1.52 ERA. The Cubs must not have been convinced by Marmol's fast finish, signing Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa to compete for the 9th inning job this past off season. Keep in mind Marmol posted a 5.61 ERA in 31 first half appearances, explaining the Cubs' skepticism.
Before anyone gets Marmol fever, Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune reports there is no indication the right-handed reliever is high on the Tigers' list of closer alternatives. Of course, Rogers says the Cubs would be more than interested in moving Marmol to the Tigers if Rick Porcello is the centerpiece of a deal.
Move a 24 year old veteran starting pitcher who cannot become a free agent until 2016 for an overpaid 30 year old closer with command issues in the last year of his deal? The Cubs would make that trade in a heartbeat. The Tigers, not so much.
The Tigers would need to get more than Marmol in return for Porcello in order to make any possible trade with the Cubs remotely palatable.