Don't Sweat The Closer Spot, Carlos

Why Marmol should learn to stop worrying and love being the setup man

This weekend, Carlos Marmol was informed, along with the rest of the Cubs universe, that offseason import Kevin Gregg would be closing out games for the Cubs in 2009. There's really no actual baseball reason to designate these positions as such; Lou could just as easily have said that both would be his closers, depending on his mood and the strength of his coffee that day. But this is baseball tradition, and Kevin Gregg is the closer.

Carlos is not happy about this development:

"I don't think it was going to make a difference. I think they knew what they were going to do before we got here. That's why I said there was not [any] competition. You're still going to see me smile. I'm going to be the same guy, doing my job. It's good for the team, and I guess it's good for [Gregg]," he said. "I don't know what to say."

Ah, yes, the classic "It's obvious I'm disappointed and maybe a little angry but I still have to act like I'm a team player so everyone doesn't hate me," quote. Excellent display of the form, sir.

The thing is, Carlos shouldn't be worrying about this at all. First of all, he'll have plenty of opportunity to close in the future. It's likely the Cubs will make him their closer in 2010, if we may dare to look so far ahead. Second, just because he's not The Official Closer doesn't negate the high regard most people in baseball have for him. In the fantasy world, Marmol is one of the few relief pitchers so good you can play him even if he doesn't rack up a bunch of saves. In the real world, he throws gas, has an unbelievably nasty slider, and strikes out hitters at an incredibly high rate. He's a really, really good pitcher, and the Cubs will need him in high-leverage situations all year.

So screw the closer spot, Carlos. Everyone knows how good you are. Everyone knows you'll get a big paycheck some day. Go out and bail out the Cubs 10 or so times this year, eh? Atta kid.

Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger who can practically smell Opening Day. 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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