MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Marmol will most likely be pitching for another team before Opening Day.
Several teams, including the Detroit Tigers, are taking a hard look at the reliever, according to league sources, with the regular season just three weeks away. Detroit is going with 22-year-old rookie Bruce Rondon as their closer, replacing Jose Valverde who is a free agent.
Marmol will earn close to $10 million this season and can opt for free agency in November. Marmol can veto a deal to four West Coast clubs, but a source said Marmol would most likely waive that clause knowing he would be traded to a contender.
Although the Cubs have no pressure on them to move Marmol, it appears they would not hesitate to deal him for young pitching. They signed closer Kyuji Fujikawa, who saved 220 games in Japan, to a two-year contract during the winter, and he would step in as the Cubs closer if Marmol is traded.
The Cubs had a trade with the Los Angeles Angels on Nov. 3 that would have sent Marmol to Los Angeles for starter Dan Haren. The deal was rescinded after Cubs doctors hesitated to recommend Haren due to MRI readings. Haren later was released and signed as a free agent with the Washington Nationals.
After a disappointing beginning to the 2012 season in which he posted a 5.61 ERA in the first half, Marmol regained his dominant form in the second half with a 1.52 ERA after the All-Star break. Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio along with manager Dale Sveum insisted that Marmol use his two-seam fastball to get ahead of hitters. That helped turn Marmol's season and career back into a positive direction. He finished with 20 saves with a 3.42 ERA in 61 games last season.
"Carlos is our closer," Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said recently. "He came into camp in terrific shape and has been working hard with our people."