Blog Entry

Cubs name Gregg as closer

Posted on: March 29, 2009 2:48 pm

 MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago manager Lou Piniella said Sunday that Kevin Gregg has won the Cubs' closer job, with Carlos Marmol being relegated to the set-up duties he performed last season for Kerry Wood.

"We said we'd let both pitchers compete in the spring, and both have pitched very well," Piniella said Sunday morning after informing Gregg and Marmol of the decision. "I'm fortunate that I have two pitchers I have confidence in."

Piniella was being generous to Marmol in his assessment of the spring. While Gregg hasn't allowed a run in 8 1/3 innings this spring (four hits, 10 strikeouts, one walk), Marmol has allowed four runs in eight innings and, most noticeably, has had difficulty with his command. Marmol has hit five batters during his eight innings.

"I think, leaving spring training, we're a better team the way we put this together," said Piniella, whose Cubs open next Monday in Houston. "Now, what we have to do with Marmol in the set-up role is find a couple of pitchers who can help him so we can get to where we don't have to used him as much as we did (early) last year."

Veteran Aaron Heilman, who should see a lot of work in the seventh innings, figures prominently in that mix. Piniella also mentioned Luis Vizcaino and lefty Neal Cotts. Right-handers Chad Gaudin and Jeff Samardzija are two others who could factor in, but the Cubs aren't certain how the last spot or two in their bullpen will shake out.

Gregg, 30, compiled 61 saves over the past two seasons combined for the Florida Marlins. Marmol, 26, has eight career saves -- seven last year. Though Piniella did not mention the World Baseball Classic as factoring into the decision, Marmol spent part of this spring away from Cubs camp, pitching for the Dominican Republic. He struggled there as well, blowing a save opportunity in the Dominican Republic's 2-1 loss to The Netherlands.

"I told him the better he does his job, the better we'll be as a team," Piniella said of his message to Marmol. "I told him not to be disappointed, that there will be plenty of opportunities down the road for him for him to close. I told him to improve and maintain, and a lot of good things will happen for him in his career."

Besides, in a perfect Cubs world, if they win as often as they hope, Marmol may still get a chance to close at times because Piniella hopes to refrain from using Gregg more than two or three days in a row.

Of course, worse-case scenario is that Gregg stumbles early and a full-blown controversy develops.

"We're not going to tiptoe through the tulips with this thing," Piniella said. "We've made our decision. We're going to give (Gregg) every chance to succeed, and I'm sure he will."

Piniella added: "I couldn't go wrong either way, I really couldn't. I thought about this for a long time. It's tough to bring a young man into this office like that (and tell Marmol he lost the job), especially someone who's played such a big role in our success."

Likes: How can you beat this upcoming week: Bruce Springsteen's new tour kicking off on Wednesday night, the Final Four games on Saturday, Braves at Phillies in the season opener on Sunday, 28 major-league clubs opening on Monday and then the NCAA championship hoops game on Monday night. If you can't find some things to smile about in there, you may as well give it up. ... Aaron Boone continuing to do well following open-heart surgery last week. ... Clubs like the Cubs making final roster decisions. ... Jordan Zimmerman in the Washington Nationals' April rotation. Why not? What, they've got somebody both more experienced AND better. ... Villanova. What a great, gutsy team.

Dislikes: Watching Pittsburgh (and so much of the Big East, for that matter) play basketball. Grab, push, shove, hip-check ... it's all brawn, little artistry. But the Panthers sure do have onions, as television commentator Bill Raftery would say.

Sunblock day? Partly cloudy on Sunday in the desert, actually. I suppose it sunblock wouldn't hurt, but it's been on the cool side.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Hey Frank, won't you pack your bags
"And meet me tonight down at Liberty Hall
"Just one kiss from you my brother
"And we'll ride until we fall
"We'll sleep in the fields
"We'll sleep by the rivers
"And in the morning we'll make a plan
"Well, if you can't make it
"Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive
"If you can
"And meet me in a dream of this hard land"

-- Bruce Springsteen, This Hard Land





Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: March 30, 2009 5:44 pm

Cubs name Gregg as closer

If anyone has Marmol on fantasy you could keep him. Gregg won't keep the closer role for the whole season. He had a ERA in the high 3s , blew 9 saves, and lost his job while being in one of the best pitcher parks in Florida. Marmol has proven he can pitch in Wrigley. Gregg is going to show you what he is soon enough. He says he don't care about scouting reports. Well he better start to if he wants to have success in that division where the parks are more windy.

Since: Mar 23, 2009
Posted on: March 30, 2009 1:47 am

Cubs name Gregg as closer

Its the right choice

Since: Feb 11, 2008
Posted on: March 29, 2009 9:00 pm

Cubs name Gregg as closer

As far as my starting pitchers it goes Beckett, Gallardo, Josh Johnson, Lee, Wainwright, Bedard, Billingsley, Jurrjens and Young.  My closers are Marmol and Frank Francisco.  Francisco is a long shot, but he's closing for the best lineup in baseball.  He should get a lot of chances with how many runs the team will produce as well as how poor there pitching staff is.  To me it kinda evens out for a lot of save opportunities.  My only reserve batter is Nelson Cruz.  Let me know what you think? 


Since: Feb 13, 2009
Posted on: March 29, 2009 7:14 pm

Cubs name Gregg as closer

Well, come on now, was that really necessary?



Since: Dec 14, 2007
Posted on: March 29, 2009 6:23 pm

Cubs name Gregg as closer

Gregg was a very serviceable closer last year for the Marlins.  It will be a little different pitching for the Cubs, but nothing like the AL.  If he keeps this role thru the year look for 35 saves and a 3.5 era.  Marmol will be better as a setup man for another year.  Eventually Marmol will be a good closer in this league.  He just needs a little more time. 

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: March 29, 2009 6:20 pm

Cubs name Gregg as closer

  I'd love to suggest a remedial writing & grammar course for you.  Seriously, you "wont" them to win and want people to get "of there" back?  I'm guessing you are either 4yrs old or have taken a few fastballs off the 'ol noggin' over the years.


Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: March 29, 2009 6:19 pm

Cubs name Gregg as closer

what does the rest of your roster currently look like? 

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: March 29, 2009 6:16 pm

Cubs name Gregg as closer

what does the rest of your roster currently look like?


Since: Jan 9, 2009
Posted on: March 29, 2009 6:02 pm

Cubs name Gregg as closer

 seems like a good idea.  I have heard good things about gregg and marmol is a great setup man anyway

Since: Feb 11, 2008
Posted on: March 29, 2009 4:59 pm

Cubs name Gregg as closer


With Gregg the closer how much is Marmol worth?  Should I keep him on my bench and drop someone else? I have Jair Jurrjens and Chris Young to drop, but I don't think its worth it.  Marmol was my number one closer,  so now its gonna have to be Gregg.  I don't have another closer to sub in, so I'm stuck with dropping someone.  

Alright, I'm dropping Marmol for Gregg.  Good/Bad?  Let me know if I shouldn't 

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