Cubs nearing long-term extension with Carlos Marmol

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According to David Kaplan and Fred Mitchell, two baseball writers for the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs are nearing agreement on a long-term extension with closer Carlos Marmol.

There’s not much information available at the moment.  The bit of news only got two sentences on the Tribune‘s website, one which pretty much reads like the introduction here in this post and one that says an announcement should come “before pitchers and catchers report” to spring training next weekend.

Marmol was eligible for arbitration this winter for the second time in his career.  He requested a $5.65 million salary and was offered $4.1 million by the Cubs when figures were exchanged in mid-January.

The Cubs can simply decide to buy out Marmol’s final two arbitration seasons with a two-year contract.  Or they can go big, wrapping the Dominican fireballer up through several years of free agency.

The 28-year-old finished with a 2.55 ERA and 38 saves last season for Chicago, fanning 138 batters in 77 2/3 innings for a record 15.99 K/9.  He’s entering his prime, by all accounts, and that prime should be a good one.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”