Mar 7, 2013; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carlos Marmol (49) pitches during the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox at HoHoKam Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Marmol Should No Longer Be the Closer for the Chicago Cubs

Carlos Marmol has been the full-time closer for the Chicago Cubs since the 2010 season. However, the time has come for the Cubs to make a move and bum Marmol from the closer spot.

He might have won the 2010 DHL Delivery Man Award, but his performance has been dropping since 2010. Monday’s opening day game against the Pittsburgh Pirates should be a sign that it is indeed time for manager Dale Sveum to make the move to no longer have Marmol be the closer.

Marmol came in for starter Jeff Samardzija in the bottom of the ninth. Samardzija had thrown eight scoreless innings where he gave up only two hits and struck out nine batters.

Jun. 23, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Marmol (49) is pulled by manager Dale Sveum during the eighth inning against Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports

Marmol started the bottom of the ninth off right by striking out Garrett Jones. He then followed that by hitting Andrew McCutchen with a pitch, giving up a single to center field, and walking Gabby Sanchez.

James Russell and Kyuji Fujikawa came in and finished the game for the Cubs after that.

All Cub fans know that Marmol is not the all-star that he used to be and that he isn’t as mentally strong as he used to be. It is easy for an opposing team to make him not feel confident on the mound.

Just look at Opening Day; a hit batter, stolen base, base hit and a walk took his confidence and threw it right out the window.

However, if Marmol is not the Cubs’ closer in 2013, then who should the closer be? The answer to that question is Kyuji Fujikawa.

Fujikawa might be new to the Cubs and the MLB, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t familiar to the closing role. While in Japan, he pitched for the Hanshin Tigers from 1999-2012 and became their full-time closer in 2007.

The 31-year old pitcher was the league leader in saves twice during his Japanese career (46 in 2007 and 41 in 2011). He also recorded 200+ career saves over eight seasons in Hanshin.

I’m not calling for Marmol to be chased out of town, but he should be chased out of the closing role in Chicago. After 100+ years of losing on the Northside, the Cubs need to make the right choices for the future.

Carlos Marmol could still be useful to the Chicago Cubs, but not as their full-time closer.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyWidmer.

For more Chicago sports news and insight, check out The Onside Kick every Sunday Morning on Fansided Radio.

Tags: Carlos Marmol Chicago Cubs James Russell Jeff Samardzija Kyuji Fujikawa

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