Gammons on the Cubs

The Chicago National League Ballclub is all over Saturday's installment of the Peter Gammons blog at

Regarding the decision of the Man Who Would Be Cubs Closer, Carlos Marmol, to play in this spring's World Baseball Classic:

Wonderful. Here's a 26-year-old with dazzling talent, a kid who fanned a third of the batters he faced last year, and with Kerry Wood gone to Cleveland and Ryan Dempster an All-Star in the Cubs' rotation is supposed to be the closer for a Cubs team whose expectations are to go farther than the first round of the 2009 playoffs. Marmol is heating up in January while pitching in the Dominican League playoffs, then he's going to go to spring training and slow it down, then turn it up again in the WBC, return to spring training and slow it down, then head north and be expected to be a shutdown closer beginning on Opening Day.
Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Start. And there is a full season ahead...
...there are risks, and if a Jake Peavy or John Lackey or Francisco Rodriguez or Carlos Marmol is hurting in May or September, then there may have to be a lot more thought that goes into the next time the event is held.
Regarding the new Colorado Rockie, Jason Marquis:
Derek Lowe's deal with the Braves re-emphasizes the value teams place on reliability. Which makes one wonder if the Cubs won't miss Jason Marquis, who pitched a combined 358 2/3 innings in the past two seasons, more than they realize right now.
And finally, regarding Rich Harden, who decided not to pitch for Canada in the WBC:
Rich Harden had two choices at the end of last season because of the shoulder issues he's fought through: Either have surgery or try to rehab. Harden chose the rehab. He has worked really hard all winter, and if the Cubs can get 15-20 starts from him in 2009, they will be happy. And with new ownership in place, we know the possibility of trading for Jake Peavy will be re-addressed.


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