Carlos Marmol yanked from first save chance

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Carlos Marmol began the season as the Cubs’ closer, but manager Dale Sveum didn’t hesitate to yank the right-hander when things started to unravel.

Handed a 3-0 lead in the ninth inning, Marmol struck out Garrett Jones and then hit Andrew McCutchen with a pitch. McCutchen stole second base, Pedro Alvarez singled him home, and then Marmol walked Gaby Sanchez as the tying run.

And that was it. Sveum pulled Marmol with one out, two runners on, and the Cubs up 3-1. Left-hander James Russell came in, followed by right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa, and together they wriggled out of the jam to close out the win.

At this point it’s pretty safe to assume that the Cubs would only stick with Marmol in an effort to let him rack up saves before a trade, but it’s only a matter of time before Fujikawa is the closer.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.