Cubs

Marmols the final piece to Cubs offseason

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Marmols the final piece to Cubs offseason

Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011
Posted: 7:30 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

Win or lose, the Cubs say Carlos Marmol is the same person the next day. Hes about to become exponentially richer. Its just a matter of how much.

The Cubs did not reach an agreement with Marmol on Tuesday the day to exchange salary arbitration figures but they are discussing options for a one-year deal or multi-year extension with his representative. They do not expect to bring this to a hearing.

The Cubs came to terms on Tuesday with their other remaining arbitration-eligible players pitchers Matt Garza, Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall.

Garza received a one-year deal worth 5.95 million and his acquisition essentially forced out Gorzelanny. The ice storm that shut down Washington is expected to delay Gorzelannys physical until Wednesday. Once completed, the Cubs will obtain three prospects and the Nationals will take on Gorzelannys 2.1 million contract for 2011.

Marshall who many around the Cubs considered to be the teams MVP last season agreed to the security of a two-year deal. The left-handed reliever has settled in the Chicago suburbs and will be due 1.6 million this season and 3.1 million in 2012.

Marshall went 7-5 with a 2.65 ERA in 80 games last year, becoming such a vital part of the bullpen that its almost impossible to move him back into the rotation.

The end game with Marmol is basically the last major offseason item remaining for Jim Hendry. The general manager and his staff were able to structure the contracts in a way that they will pay Garza, first baseman Carlos Pena and reliever Kerry Wood less than 11 million in 2011 dollars.

The bill to address those three needs will ultimately be closer to 17.5 million Pena accepted a signing bonus and deferred money plus the cost of prospects and Woods understood future role somewhere in the organization.

Those economic gymnastics were needed to hit budget. The major-league payroll will be less than the approximately 145 million committed for Opening Day 2010, probably closer to 130-135 million.

Marmol dominated in his first full season as closer while earning 2.125 million. The right-hander with the wicked slider saved 38 of his teams 75 victories. He did not allow a run after Aug. 25, finishing with a 2.55 ERA.

Marmols agent, Barry Praver, would have liked just one more strikeout, because then he could have pointed to an even 16 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. As it stands, Marmols 15.99 strikeouts per nine innings pitched last season was the highest for a reliever in major-league history.

Yes, Marmol is wild at times, but a band appears to be forming for closers. David Aardsma settled for 4.5 million with the Mariners on Tuesday, while the Red Sox gave 12 million to Jonathan Papelbon.

Until last year with Ryan Theriot, Hendry had never taken a player to arbitration in more than a decade as a Cubs executive.

The Cubs like Marmols makeup and how the 28-year-old easily forgets a bad game. They recognize the value of being able to close in front of 40,000 screaming fans at Wrigley Field. Its just a question of what price the two sides put on that extraordinary ability.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

The Giants' search for a successor to now-retired manager Bruce Bochy has led them to the North Side.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Giants are interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for their own managerial opening. San Francisco's interest is intriguing, as Venable went to high school just outside San Francisco in nearby San Rafael. His father — Max Venable — played for the Giants from 1979-83. 

Venable also interviewed for the Cubs' manager job earlier this month, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that his interest is in the "organization in general." He is one of several internal candidates for the Cubs' job, along with bench coach Mark Loretta and front office assistant David Ross.

The Cubs also interviewed Joe Girardi and are set to meet with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

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Former Cub Mark Prior 'likely' to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

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USA TODAY

Former Cub Mark Prior 'likely' to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

Mark Prior's big-league playing career unfortunately fizzled out due to recurring injury woes, but he's making a name for himself in the coaching realm.

With Dodgers current pitching coach Rick Honeycutt transitioning into a new role, Prior is expected to takeover the position starting next season.

Cubs fans know the story of Prior's playing career all too well. The Cubs drafted him second overall in the 2001, with Prior making his MLB debut just a season later. He went on to dominate in 2003, posting an 18-6 record, 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 30 starts, a season in which he made the All-Star Game and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting.

However, Prior's season ended on a sour note, as he was on the mound during the Steve Bartman incident in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Prior exited the game with a 3-1 lead, but the Cubs surrendered seven more runs that inning, eventually falling to the Marlins 8-3 before losing Game 7 the next day. 

Prior struggled to stay healthy after 2003, eventually retiring in 2013 after multiple comeback attempts. While many blame his injury-riddled career on former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, Prior does not. 

While we can only wonder what could've been with Prior to the pitcher, it's good to see him still making an impact in baseball in some fashion.

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