Piniella's Relievers Already Looking Good

Lou's call to keep Marmol in a familiar role is already paying on-field dividends

When the Cubs lost closer Kerry Wood, we were suspicious. On one hand, the move made sense; Wood's value was highest at the end of last season, and there's no sense in overpaying for a closer just because he's a fan favorite. That's bad business. (Though Wood's insistence that he would have stayed at any price is an argument here, it's something we've been through enough by now.)

So the Cubs acquired Marlins closer Kevin Gregg in a trade. Gregg isn't quite as good as Wood. His stuff isn't as electric. But he did he have decent stats last season, and he seems wily enough, and he's been in a closer's role before, if that helps. With Gregg, the bullpen started to make sense, but it wasn't a done deal. What about Carlos Marmol?

Piniella chose to keep Marmol in the setup spot. He pegged Gregg as the closer. And thus far, it seems to be paying dividends: through one series, the Cubs bullpen has perhaps been its most consistent squad. Marmol has looked solid in the setup role, and Gregg has already notched a save.

Of course, as with anything on April 10, it's way, way, WAY too early to cast aspersions, one way or another, on how good the bullpen is. But Paul Sullivan is right today: It's a good start and a good little preview of how the back end can be, which at this point is really all you can ask for. The bullpen can work this way. Now's the hard part.

Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, Follow him on Twitter.

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