Cubs take risk with Carlos Marmol deal

A three-year extension for a volatile player at MLB's most volatile position is ill-advised

Updated: February 16, 2011, 1:22 PM ET
By Matt Meyers | ESPN Insider

Carlos MarmolDilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesMarmol's strikeout rate is off the charts, but he's far from the perfect reliever.

While most of the baseball world is focused on Albert Pujols' ongoing contract saga, another high-profile NL Central player signed a far more low-profile contract extension this week. On Monday, the Chicago Cubs signed closer Carlos Marmol to a three-year, $20 million dollar deal, two years before he was set to hit free agency.

On the surface, this seems like a reasonable contract on the heels of Marmol setting the major league record with 15.99 strikeouts per nine innings. For comparison, Rafael Soriano, who has been a dominant closer the past two seasons, just signed a three-year, $35 million deal with the New York Yankees. He was a free agent, so he had more leverage, which means Marmol received a little less than he would have gotten on the open market in exchange for some long-term security. Great for everyone, right?