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.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.