by Andy Paschen
Color me surprised. Lou Piniella has named his closer, and it is no flamethrowing Domincan. Kevin Gregg, thanks to his nifty 0.00 spring ERA, has been named the Kira Sedgwick of the Chicago Cubs. I did not see that coming. Not because Kevin Gregg is a shabby pitcher – he’s not – but because I wasn’t sure Piniella would want to hurt the psyche of Carlos Marmol.
I know, I know, they are professional athletes and hurting their feelings should be the last thing coaches have to worry about when naming starters and reserves, etc., but Marmol certainly has a track record (albeit brief) of having some mental fragility from time to time. I really would have thought Piniella would have named Marmol the closer first, because Gregg would, mentally, be able to handle the set-up role better than Marmol.
On a personal note, having drafted Marmol in my fantasy league, this information could have been useful BEFORE THE DRAFT! I didn’t pick Mr. Marmol to be a God-damn 8th inning pitcher! Come on, Lou! Throw me a freaking bone.
Now there will be speculation all season long, especially if Gregg struggles at all and Marmol turns in the 1-2-3K innings time after time, whether or not Piniella makes a switch, but it’s my opinion that a player really has to blow hard for Sweet Lou to do so. In sum: expect Gregg to be the closer for most of the season, if not the entire she-bang. But, it will be curious to see if Marmol gets more opportunities to spell Gregg and get some saves of his own. Time will tell.