If I told you that in 2012 Carlos Marmol's final stats were like they are below, what would you say?
44 IP, 31 H, 29 BB, 60 K, 3 HR, 2.66 ERA, 3.25 FIP
You'd say I was full of shit because that wasn't his final line, but that's what Carlos Marmol did after returning from his phantom injury in May. I realize that this is nothing more than selective endpoints, but I also realize that something was completely off with Marmol when the season began. Prior to his DL stint, he had thrown 11.1 innings, allowed 9 hits, walked 16 and struckout 12. He allowed 10 runs, 8 of which were earned.
The baseball season doesn't begin after a DL stint so those appearances matter. Overall, Marmol posted a 3.42 ERA, 3.98 FIP, .2 fWAR and .3 rWAR.
Below was Marmol's projection entering the season:
Marmol ended up walking only 1 fewer than 46 despite throwing only 55.1 innings. The projection for him was about 1.3 WAR and he failed to come close to that.
Marmol has always been a wild card in my opinion. He's had a couple really good years, but even in those years he walked a lot of batters. He was never as good as he was at his best and he's probably better than he was this year though probably not by a whole lot.
2010 was a great season for Marmol despite walking the world. He struckout batters at a near record breaking percentage and was unhittable when he threw strikes. With the exception of that year though, Marmol has been your run of the mill late inning reliever over the last 4 years.
On a good team, Marmol wouldn't be the closer, but good the Cubs are not. Marmol's contract wasn't a bad one at the time it was signed and nor was it a good one. What should have given us all pause is that Jim Hendry's record on signing relievers was ridiculously poor. It's difficult to imagine a GM signing as many poor relievers as Hendry did. Not surprisingly, the Cubs got little in return.
If I recall, the Cubs paid Marmol about what we'd have expected him to be worth, but he hasn't really come close to doing that. After his dominating 2010 season he took a huge step back last year and in some ways (FIP, fWAR) another step back this year. His ERA did improve to about the same as 2009. I don't know what to expect from Marmol entering next season, but I'd guess it's more of the same that we've seen over the last 4 years. At times he'll look dominating, but mostly he'll just be a decent and perhaps above average reliever.
The Cubs will have a hard time trading Marmol because he's due nearly $10 million in 2013. The Cubs also don't exactly have anyone who can replace Marmol. No, Rafael Dolis should never see that role again. Ever.
Marmol is a great example of your average good reliever. He's had 3 really good years and 3 not so good years. Relievers are unpredictable because they throw so few innings per season and Marmol has been no different. There was never a reason to think he would be different.