According to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, former closer Carlos Marmol has signed a minor-league deal with the Boston Red Sox that includes an invite to spring training. It’s been almost two full seasons since Marmol had a complete meltdown as a member of the Miami Marlins. Since then, though, he has attempted to prove himself down in the minors once again, but has continued to struggle with his control and command constantly.
Boston already has a bullpen full of impact arms thanks to a busy offseason, so it’s going to be quite a long shot for Marmol to make the major-league club. But even with that being the case, depth is huge for any bullpen across a 162-game schedule. It will be interesting to see if Marmol can raise some eyebrows during the spring and maybe find himself in a position to help out at some point in 2016.
In 28 games at Triple-A for the Cleveland Indians organization last season, Marmol posted a strong 2.03 ERA while working late in games. He collected a total of 13 saves while finishing 20 games in total. The one issue that had plagued Carlos in the past was still alive and well, though. He registered an ugly 7.8 BB/9 that would end up making him an afterthought for the major-league club. Even though Marmol was striking out almost 14 batters per nine in this period, it was useless because he wasn’t improving on his biggest flaw. He ended up walking seven batters in just 12 innings while playing in the Dominican Winter League this offseason. Relievers don’t stick anymore when they have no idea where the ball is going. After all this time, Marmol still hasn’t been able to fix the one issue that has completely derailed his career.
Bullpens have been one of the biggest focuses of baseball the last few seasons thanks to the success of the Kansas City Royals. Several teams are currently trying to copy this format for success, and the Red Sox are one of them. After last season’s constant issues late in games, Boston will not have any interest in throwing out liabilities on the mound. It will take a miracle from the Red Sox coaching staff to find a way to make Marmol valuable at the major-league level once again.
As the offseason is coming to an end and spring training is here, there will be a ton of signings like this by major-league teams. Every year clubs find a few diamonds in the rough that end up making a huge impact across the upcoming season. More often than not, though, a signing like Marmol ends up only being relevant for a short period before rosters began to actually settle in. But hey, it’s a new season, and every Red Sox player down in Fort Myers will be given a fresh start and an opportunity to prove themselves once again. As Carlos Marmol continues to get older, though, these opportunities will not be there for him to hang around different minor league systems each year.