In a swap of relievers who were designated for assignment, Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports that the Cubs have traded Carlos Marmol and about $200,000 in international signing bonus money to the Dodgers for Matt Guerrier.
Marmol certainly has a lot more upside than Guerrier, who’s been little more than middle relief-caliber since signing a three-year, $12 million deal with the Dodgers two-and-a-half seasons ago. This year Guerrier had a 4.80 ERA and 21/12 K/BB ratio in 30 innings. Of course, Guerrier is also much less likely to completely implode on the mound, which Marmol has done far too often this season.
On the other hand, even while struggling overall this season Marmol racked up 32 strikeouts in 28 innings, posting a double-digit strikeout rate for the eighth consecutive season, and from 2007-2012 he posted a 2.90 ERA with the majors’ highest strikeout rate and lowest opponents’ batting average. If the Dodgers can get him to go from “worst control of all time” to merely “really, really bad control” he’s still capable of overpowering hitters.
Chicago’s move to unload Marmol comes just minutes after the Cubs traded Scott Feldman to the Orioles for Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop, and about $400,000 in international bonus money.
The Los Angeles Times reports that federal agents have interviewed at least six current and former Angels players as part of their investigation into the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
Among the players questioned: Andrew Heaney, Noé Ramirez, Trevor Cahill, and Matt Harvey. An industry source tells NBC Sports that the interviews by federal agents are part of simultaneous investigations into Skaggs’ death by United States Attorneys in both Texas and California.
There has been no suggestion that the players are under criminal scrutiny or are suspected of using opioids. Rather, they are witnesses to the ongoing investigation and their statements have been sought to shed light on drug use by Skaggs and the procurement of illegal drugs by him and others in and around the club.
Skaggs asphyxiated while under the influence of fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol in his Texas hotel room on July 1. This past weekend, ESPN reported that Eric Kay, the Los Angeles Angels’ Director of Communications, knew that Skaggs was an Oxycontin addict, is an addict himself, and purchased opioids for Skaggs and used them with him on multiple occasions. Kay has told DEA agents that, apart from Skaggs, at least five other Angels players are opioid users and that other Angels officials knew of Skaggs’ use. The Angels have denied Kay’s allegations.
In some ways this all resembles what happened in Pittsburgh in the 1980s, when multiple players were interviewed and subsequently called as witnesses in prosecutions that came to be known as the Pittsburgh Drug Trials. There, no baseball players were charged with crimes in connection with what was found to be a cocaine epidemic inside Major League clubhouses, but their presence as witnesses caused the prosecutions to be national news for weeks and months on end.