MESA, Ariz. – Cubs closer Carlos Marmol thought he was headed to the Los Angeles Angels.
That was three months ago, when the Cubs asked Marmol to waive his limited no-trade clause because they were close to finalizing a deal to acquire Dan Haren from the Angels.
“They told me I was traded,” he said. “The next day I was told, ‘No, you’re not going there.’ ”
Marmol still is with the Cubs, and his status still is unclear.
Marmol is entering the final year of a three-year, $9.8 million. The 2008 All-Star is certain to be trade bait for the rebuilding organization near the July 31 trade deadline if the Cubs are out of contention.
“He’s our closer,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
But for how long?
Since the effort to trade him, the Cubs signed former Japanese All-Star closer Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year deal and installed him in the eighth-inning setup role.
Still, Marmol, who was given a monthlong demotion from the closer role after a rough start last year, is not looking over his shoulder.
“I still believe in myself,” he said.
Marmol had 114 saves for the Cubs over the past five years. Yet he lost his job as the team’s closer several times because of ineffectiveness and a lack of control.
The Cubs are banking Marmol’s strong finish – 2.09 ERA, converting 18 of 19 save chances over the final 3½ months of the season – to carry over into 2013.
But nothing ever seems that easy for the often-erratic right-hander, especially in recent months.
Soon after learning he wasn’t being traded, a 24-year-old woman filed a civil suit against him in a Dominican court, accusing him of domestic assault when he drove her home from a party in late October.
Marmol vehemently denies the allegation, and team officials have expressed strong support after looking into the case. A police investigation resulted in no criminal charges, and Marmol’s attorneys in the Dominican have filed a countersuit claiming extortion and are seeking jail time for his accuser.
But the case has advanced in civil proceedings, and a local court sent it to the country’s high court in the capital city of Santo Domingo – leaving Marmol to wonder if he’ll have to leave camp at some point to attend a hearing.
“It’s very frustrating,” he said. “I didn’t do anything.”
Marmol said he doesn’t believe the case will affect his play.
“I’m glad the Cubs know. They believe me,” he said. “I know myself. So I don’t worry about this, because I know what I feel. I know who I am. And I didn’t do anything.”
Marmol can only speculate about what’s next. What he does know is he doesn’t want to go anywhere.
“Everybody knows I love being with the Cubs,” he said. “I love Chicago.”