COMMENTARY | Day 1 of the MLB winter meetings only resulted in a few minor deals, none of which involved the Milwaukee Brewers. But that doesn't mean general managers all over the league weren't active in discussions with agents -- and each other -- throughout the day.
That includes Brewers GM Doug Melvin, who has already been searching far and wide for a first baseman. On Monday, Melvin had some preliminary discussions with the agent of Corey Hart (via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), and there were also inquiries about the availability of New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis (h/t Haudricourt).
This is nothing new for Milwaukee, although it also has reported interest in the San Francisco Giants' Brett Pill (via Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle) and picking up a reliever with closing experience (via Haudricourt).
But here's the real kicker -- that reliever just might be Carlos Marmol.
That's right. The former Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher is apparently on the radar of the Brewers (h/t Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times). He fits the bill as far as a player with closing experience is concerned, although he was designated for assignment by the Cubs after a wretched start to the 2013 season.
At 31 years old, Marmol is still an erratic pitcher eight years after his big league debut. Prior to his release last season, Marmol was 2-4 with a 5.86 ERA with the Cubs, but he bounced back to a degree with the Dodgers, pitching in 21 games and sporting a 2.53 ERA.
The Brewers have had their frustrations with both John Axford and Francisco Rodriguez in the closer's role over the past two seasons, but even should they pick up someone like Marmol, Jim Henderson can expect to pick up where he left off -- as Milwaukee's closer -- in 2014.
Marmol can be a frustrating pitcher to watch due to his lack of control. Despite having electric stuff, Marmol has never had a strikeout-to-walk ratio higher than 2.65, and that came back in 2010. Since then, Marmol has seen a sharp decline in performance.
Milwaukee would have to bank on rediscovering the Marmol of old and that his stint with Los Angeles helped him perhaps save his career. In reality, however, Marmol's K/BB ratio was worse with the Dodgers, and his 5.19 FIP was Marmol's worst since 2006, his rookie season.
Last season, the Brewers had the No. 5 bullpen in baseball. That being said, having a veteran arm around isn't a bad idea -- as long as it isn't Michael Gonzalez.
A reclamation project, on the other hand? It depends on just how much Melvin and the Brewers trust some of their younger arms to have a repeat performance in 2014, because bringing in Marmol could wind up being an unnecessary risk.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.
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- Milwaukee Brewers
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- Carlos Marmol