Carlos Marmol, Cubs agree

Updated: February 14, 2011, 6:58 PM ET
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com

MESA, Ariz. -- The Chicago Cubs and closer Carlos Marmol avoided an arbitration hearing by agreeing to a three-year, $20 million contract on Monday.

Marmol, whose arbitration hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, is scheduled to earn $3.2 million in 2011, $7 million in 2012 and $9.8 million in 2013. The deal also includes a limited no-trade clause, and $1 million of the $3.2 million owed to Marmol for the 2011 season will be paid as a bonus before the season, according to a source.

"I wanted to secure my life, my family, my career," he said.

The 28-year-old Marmol made $2.25 million in 2010, his first year of arbitration. He set a record for strikeouts by a Cubs reliever last season with 138. He also posted 38 saves in 43 chances with a 2-3 record and 2.55 ERA.

Marmol took over the closer's role in August 2009 and has converted 49 of 54 save chances since then.

"Great ones are hard to find. The numbers the kid put up" moved him into the upper echelon of closers," general manager Jim Hendry said.

Marmol sometimes makes it exciting. He has experienced bouts of wildness during his career in which he has trouble finding the plate, hits batters and uncorks wild pitches with a herky jerky motion. The hard-throwing right-hander has plunked 35 batters, thrown 22 wild pitches and walked 252 in 385 1/3 innings during his career.

But he is often able to recover with the strikeout. He had an average of 15.99 strikeouts per nine innings last season.

"I never worry about my control," Marmol said. "I worry about three outs before they score on me. You work hard. That's what you're looking for: work hard and get better every day. You never stop learning."

Marmol has made 316 major league appearances, all but 13 in relief. He was signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in 1999 as a catcher/outfielder and was converted to a pitcher in 2002.

He started 13 games in 2006 before heading to the bullpen the following season where he excelled as a setup reliever with a 5-1 record and 1.43 ERA in 59 appearances. He made the All-Star team as a reliever in 2008.

"I grew up in this organization. I feel very proud," Marmol said at a news conference.

Five players remain in arbitration, with hearings scheduled through Friday. Players and owners have split the two cases already decided, with Pittsburgh pitcher Ross Ohlendorf winning and Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jered Weaver losing.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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