Carlos Marmol (wildly) returns to mound in non-closer role

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Stripped of closing duties last week following back-to-back ugly appearances, Carlos Marmol returned to the mound last night and successfully pitched the ninth inning of a 6-1 victory for the Cubs.

However, it wasn’t exactly a flawless appearance, as Marmol walked two of the five batters he faced and threw just 15 of 29 pitches for strikes.

The good news is that he got swinging strikeouts on both Ryan Howard and John Mayberry Jr. after the right-hander with the best single-season strikeout rate in MLB history whiffed zero batters in his previous six games.

After the game Marmol talked about studying video of his mechanics with pitching coach Mark Riggins, saying: “I feel great right now.”

His return to the closer role will have to wait, however, as manager Mike Quade indicated that it’ll take more than one scoreless but walk-filled outing to reclaim ninth-inning duties from Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood.

Report: Yankees could be in on Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado
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The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.

The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.

Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.