There was a report earlier this week that the Cubs were looking to trade Carlos Marmol before the end of spring training. While that was quickly shot down, it appears that the erratic reliever could be on the move at some point in the future.
According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, top team officials have told Marmol’s agent to “expect” a trade this season. The ideal scenario for the Cubs is that he’ll pitch well enough to build up his value while his eventual replacement, Kyuji Fujikawa, gets acclimated to the big leagues.
Marmol has a limited no-trade clause, so he can control his destiny to a certain degree. He was close to being dealt to the Angels during the offseason, but the trade fell through because the Cubs had concerns about Dan Haren’s medicals.
Marmol finished last season with a 3.42 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings, but he also walked 18.2 percent of the batters he faced. Among pitchers who threw at least 50 innings last season, nobody else walked more than 16.2 percent. The 30-year-old right-hander is eligible to become a free agent after 2013.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.