Another pitcher has joined the party at Red Sox Spring Training. Remember Carlos Marmol, the occasionally erratic, frequently brilliant closer of the Cubs? He’s now the 16th player that the Sox have brought to camp as a non-roster invitee, and he’s signed a minor-league deal with the club.
Since 2013, the 33-year-old Marmol’s career has gone off the tracks. That year, he was dealt from Chicago to the Dodgers, compiling a 2-4 record, 4.42 ERA, and just two saves overall for the season. After struggling to the tune of an 0-3 record and 8.10 ERA early in 2014 with the Marlins, Marmol was released, and he’s been bouncing around the minors ever since.
What went wrong for the former All-Star, who has 117 career saves to his name? One thing that’s plagued Marmol his entire career is poor control; he averages 6.2 walks for nine innings, and he’s hit 51 batters over his nine-year career. The other major issue is, inevitably, diminished velocity. When Marmol’s fastball was topping 95 mph and you had to be worried about it whizzing by you, his slider was dangerous. If the life is gone from that fastball for good, it’s hard to envision him consistently getting major-league hitters out.
Still, there’s no risk in looking at a guy with ample experience who can be deadly when he’s on his game. To prove he’s worth a spot in the bullpen, Marmol needs to show John Farrell and co. that he can throw strikes, and that his two pitches still have devastating potential.