Carlos Marmol has discussed a Major League deal with three teams

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Teams are expected to watch free agent reliever Carlos Marmol pitch for the Tigres del Licey in the Dominican Winter League playoffs, according to Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors. MLBTR reports that Marmol has discussed a Major League deal with three different teams, though it is unclear if any of those offers are still on the table. Marmol is expected to sign at some point this month.

While his ERA hasn’t been catastrophically bad, Marmol has struggled immensely with his control, particularly over the past two seasons. In 104.1 innings of work, Marmol has walked 85 batters, 82 intentionally. His 18 percent walk rate state the start of 2012 is the worst among 98 relievers who logged at least 100 innings. The next worst is Rex Brothers at 12.7 percent. If he can ever overcome his control problems, he can still be a useful reliever, but Marmol will be entering his ninth season in the Majors. Sometimes you just are who you are.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

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The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.