Dale Sveum believes its essential for a manager to never show emotion, and his low-key personality will probably make that easier for him than most on the top step of the dugout.
But lets see the reaction shots when Carlos Marmol walks two batters in a one-run game, 40,000 fans are on their feet and Theo Epstein begins pacing around his suite.
Thats only if the Cubs dont find another endgame solution. After his welcome to Chicago news conference last week, Sveum was asked: Are you set with Marmol as your closer?
Sure, right now thats what we have, Sveum said. We dont have another closer.
By all accounts, Kerry Wood is expected to return in 2012, and Sean Marshall and Andrew Cashner have the potential to one day close, so the Cubs are in a position of strength at the back end of their bullpen.
Sveum has a nuanced, detailed understanding of statistical analysis. But his eyes and his gut tell him that some just arent cut out for the high-adrenaline job.
Not everybodys made to get those last three outs of (a) game, Sveum said. A lot of people might be able to get those three outs in the sixth inning or seventh inning.
Sometimes its not pretty. (But) its not that easy to find guys that can get those last three outs, no matter how ugly its going to be.
Marmol was great theater in 2010, saving 38 games and finishing with 15.99 strikeouts per nine innings, the highest single-season mark in major-league history.
But Marmol lost the feel for his slider last season, and didnt seem to trust his fastball. His ERA ballooned to 4.01 and he tied for the major-league lead with 10 blown saves.
You always try to remember what a guy looks like when hes been good, general manager Jed Hoyer said. Last year clearly was a struggle. The year before was dominant. Hopefully, we can get his slider back on track and make him a dominant closer.
Jonathan Papelbon who got the final out of the 2007 World Series emerged as a key part of the scouting and player-development machine Epstein and Hoyer built in Boston.
The Phillies recently signed Papelbon to a four-year, 50 million contract with a vesting option for 2016. Hoyer doesnt think that deal should make anyone rethink Marmols value.
Its very rare to have a closer with that long a track record, Hoyer said. Since the start of 2006, (Papelbons) been consistent and dominant and really only had one minor health issue.
Marmol had trouble maintaining his mechanics which is never easy for someone with such an unorthodox delivery after signing a three-year, 20 million deal thats heavily back-loaded. Hes guaranteed 7 million in 2012 and 9.8 million the year after that.
Paul Kinzer didnt negotiate that contract, but the agent now represents the closer, along with a few other high-profile Cubs: I think youll see Marmol come (into camp) in great shape and be ready to go (with a) different attitude.
It wouldnt just be selling extremely low on Marmol. The Cubs will also have to take into account a market thats loaded with closer options. The As and Rockies are reportedly listening on offers for Andrew Bailey and Huston Street.
The Rangers reportedly closed with Joe Nathan on Monday, agreeing to a two-year deal worth around 14.5 million that also includes a club option.
Here are some of the other free agents still on the board: Ryan Madson; Heath Bell; Francisco Rodriguez; Francisco Cordero; Frank Francisco; Matt Capps; and Jonathan Broxton.
The exceptional Papelbon became the first player in major-league history to collect at least 30 saves in each of his first six full seasons, and the fastest to reach 200 career saves (359 games), breaking Mariano Riveras record (382).
Heres where Hoyer made a comparison to Marmol: That 2011 season followed one in which Papelbon blew eight saves and finished with a 3.90 ERA for a third-place team. In this line of work, you have to expect volatility.
(Papelbon) struggled a little bit in 2010, Hoyer said. (He) came back and was incredible last year. So it is a position where guys have their ups and downs.
This winter, the Cubs will have to decide just how much they can stomach.