Manager Dale Sveum told Carlos Marmol that he will no longer be closing for the Cubs for the time being. How long this will last no one knows, but what is known, Marmol’s future as a closer is in jeopardy. Sveum told reporters that he will be using a closer-by-committee approach and will use right-hander Rafael Dolis and left-hander James Russell to close out games.
Rafael Dolisis a 24-year old rookie with decent stuff. In 2012, Dolisis has 15.1 innings in the books with a 3.52 ERA and 4 Ks. In my opinion he is not closer material, but obviously will be used to face right-handed lineups as long as he is successful.
Lefty James Russell is the stronger candidate in my eyes. So far this season, Russell hasn’t given up a run in 7.2 innings of work and has struck out eight. He is 1-0 with one hold. Russell doesn’t have the great stuff for a closer. He has a 89-90 M.P.H. fastball, but compliments it well with a sneaky slider, and a change-up. When necessary he throws a curveball as well. From a fantasy standpoint, I like Russell because in many leagues he qualifies at SP and RP. That is great for Yahoo! leagues where a manager can place a closer in a SP slot.
Right now, I’d pick up James Russell. There are rumors that Kerry Wood, who just came back from the DL could take it or John Maine in Triple-A could get called up. Maine has been closing in Triple-A Iowa, but hasn’t been called back up, so no movement there. The Cubs will be an interesting watch this year and if management has lost faith in Marmol, expect GM Theo Epstein to get on the horn with teams like the Red Sox and trade him.