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Carlos Marmol to sign with Cleveland Indians

Probably not something that would've happened if the bullpen were doing better...

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Indians are "in the process" of signing relief pitcher Carlos Marmol to a minor league deal, according to Ken Rosenthal. Marmol, a 32-year-old righty, was one of the best closers in baseball for a time, but control problems eventually overpowered his strengths, and he hasn't been an effective pitcher for close to three years now.

In 2010 Marmol set an MLB record for highest strikeout rate by a pitcher with 50+ innings, when he struck out 138 batters in 77.2 innings, a staggering 15.99 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. He also allowed only one home run that season, making him one of the most valuable relievers in baseball, despite having walked 6.03 batters per 9 innings.

By 2012 his strikeouts had fallen to 11.71 per 9 innings, which is still very impressive, but not enough to cancel out the damage of the 7.32 walks per 9 innings he issued. Everything got even worse for him in 2013, a year in which he was moved from the Cubs to the Dodgers midseason. He pitched 13.1 innings for the Marlins before being released early in the year. He signed with the Reds, but pitched in only three Triple-A games for them before being released.

Among pitchers with at least 500 career innings, Marmol's BB/9 of 6.16 is 6th highest.

Marmol has been a two-pitch pitcher, using a fastball and a slider. His velocity reportedly continues to reach the mid 90s, and he's been working with a new arm slot. A minor league deal is basically a lotto ticket. Odds are you won't win anything, but it costs almost nothing to play. Given the state of the Tribe bullpen, adding a potential impact arm to the system makes sense, even if the odds of that potential actually being reached are slim.