Dodgers swap Guerrier to Cubs for Marmol
Trade helps give LA more money to spend on international signings
DENVER -- The Dodgers continued their bullpen makeover Tuesday in a trade of outcast relievers, acquiring Cubs former closer Carlos Marmol and $209,700 in international signing space for Matt Guerrier in a deal that includes additional financial considerations.
The Dodgers acquired the Cubs international signing bonus slot No. 92 valued at $209,700, boosting Dodgers cap space to sign international players to more than $2.3 million.
Marmol is due almost $5 million in the final year of his contract, Guerrier roughly $1.8 million. When the math is done, the Dodgers will pick up roughly $500,000 in additional salary. Both pitchers were designated for assignment by their clubs last week.
The Dodgers consider the international bonus space reason enough to make the trade, now that they have "restarted and energized" efforts in that market.
"There's inherent value to slot money," general manager Ned Colletti said. "If you could purchase slot money, we would have paid for the opportunity. It has varying degrees of effect on how you do business internationally. We don't want to be restricted to where you can't scout and sign all year long."
Clubs surpassing their total cap are assessed an increasing tax and, eventually, prevented from signing any player internationally over individual caps.
Of more immediate benefit would be if Marmol, 30, can regain enough of his past form to be used in middle and set-up relief, with Kenley Jansen remaining the closer. Marmol was designated for assignment last week after going 2-4 with a 5.86 ERA in 31 games with 32 strikeouts, but also 21 walks and six home runs allowed.
"We know he had a rough go of it this season, but he's not on the downside [age]," Colletti. "Perhaps he needs a change of scenery and an adjustment with his delivery. He's certainly worth taking a chance."
Guerrier had lost the confidence of manager Don Mattingly and, since he was designated, interest from other clubs to take him was muted.
The Dodgers were hoping Marmol would agree to a brief Minor League assignment to work on his mechanics, but there was no indication Tuesday that he would. He has 72 hours to report and he was said to be in the Dominican Republic at the time of the trade.
The Dodgers believe they might solve an arm-slot flaw in Marmol the way they tweaked the delivery of Brandon League after his acquisition a year ago.
"We have good pitching coaches that can really dissect a delivery and we feel there are a couple points in his delivery that, with adjustments, could bring him back," said Colletti.
Marmol began the season as the Cubs closer, but lost the job after the first week to Kyuji Fujikawa. However, the Japanese pitcher had elbow problems and eventually required Tommy John surgery. In a strange twist, Kevin Gregg has replaced Marmol, who had replaced Gregg as closer in 2009. In a stranger twist, Gregg was released by the Dodgers at the end of Spring Training.
"He did provide value for us pitching in the middle of the game," Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said last Tuesday. "He had struggles that frustrated people at the end of the game. The decision really came down to it had become a distraction," Hoyer said. "It became hard to pitch as well as he could because every time he threw two balls, he'd get booed, and I don't think that's easy for anybody."
Hoyer said every time Marmol pitched, it was a "sideshow."
Marmol was an All-Star in 2008 and in 2010-11 compiled a combined 72 saves. He will be a free agent after this season.
The move is the latest of several in the Dodgers bullpen in the last week, including the promotions of youngsters Jose Dominguez and Chris Withrow, the demotion of Peter Moylan and Guerrier's designation for assignment.
The Dodgers bullpen has been in disarray most of the season as League, signed to a $22.5 million contract in the winter to be the closer, lost his job to Jansen and Ronald Belisario has been inconsistent as a set-up man.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.