If there was ever a definition of trading one bad player for another for a "change of scenery," this is it.
Both the Dodgers and Cubs can only hope that's true, as Carlos Marmol has been shipped to the Dodgers for Matt Guerrier. Both have healthy contracts, and both have struggled mightily this year. In addition, the Dodgers will receive extra cash along with $209,000 in international signing considerations.
And if you don't think the Dodgers value the international market, I ask you to take a peek at the stats of some guy named Yasiel Puig. So this was a good add-on to the trade.
Marmol has had quite the up and down career, but 2013 has been pretty much rock bottom. He's only 2-5 in save opportunities, to go along with a whopping 5.83 ERA and 1.70 WHIP. Yikes. Much like Dodger fans felt each time Brandon League took the ball with a lead in the ninth, Cub fans knew to expect the worst. And neither did anything to change that.
What can Marmol do for LA? As I mentioned above, it's all about the infamous "change of scenery" for struggling players. From 2010-2012, he saved 38, 34, 20 games, respectively. So the history of pitching effectively late in games is there. The Dodgers tweeted out an interesting fact: since 2007, Marmol leads all relievers with 644 K's, and is fourth with a .174 BAA.
That's all well and good, but obviously Marmol is a different pitcher now. The Dodgers recently promoted Jose Dominguez and Chris Withrow to pitch in middle relief. They certainly have good stuff, but are still rookies. Ronald Belisario and League are awful. Paco Rodriguez and J.P. Howell are reliable lefties.
So this certainly gives Marmol a chance to get some holds, bridging the gap to Kenley Jansen. In a perfect world, League would get DFA'd, but not with that contract. Maybe Belisario? I'd be fine with that. I have a feeling it will be Withrow, since Dominguez throws near 100 MPH and wowed everybody in his one inning on Sunday.
The biggest hurdle Marmol will have is lowering his walks, as 21 in 27 2/3 innings is way too many. He has 32 strikeouts, so he still shows the ability to get hitters to swing and miss. Rick Honeycutt doesn't have much to lose by working with him, so let's see where this goes.
As for Guerrier, he leaves as a major disappointment. He signed a three-year, $12 million deal before 2011 to be the primary setup guy. It never worked out. He appeared in 70 games in '11 with a 4.07 ERA, and injuries limited him to only 16 games last year. In 34 appearances this year, he had a 4.80 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. He was DFA'd a few days ago, so he was on his way out regardless.