Marmol's arm -- not fans -- reason for woes

Carlos Marmol has a career-worst 5.86 ERA this season. Brian Kersey/Getty Images

If you expected Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Marmol to go off into the sunset quietly, think again.

After being designated for assignment on Tuesday, he took a parting shot at the fans.

"Every time I go to the mound I try to give 100 percent, all I got, I didn't fail for lack of effort," Marmol said to ESPN Deportes. "I would say that the lack of support from the fans was part of the reason of the mental block that I suffered recently."

That's all well and good but what was the issue at the beginning of the season, before the boos rained down? Marmol gave up critical runs in his first three appearances of the season -- all on the road -- before Cubs fans could even get a piece of him. Maybe they eventually did contribute to his woes and things snowballed against him but this is the big leagues and players are paid to get a job done on the field and between their ears.

The bottom line is Marmol has little life left in his arm, enough to get some people out when the adrenaline isn't flowing for the hitter, but not enough to pitch in close games. His 11 hits and 10 walks in 13 innings pitched in games deemed close and late tell the whole story, as does his three home runs given up in that situation. With four losses and three blown saves on the season, that's a potential for seven more victories the Cubs gave up.

But at some point in his trials and tribulations, it became less about Marmol and more about the people employing him. Even though it was spring training, his performance in March was foreshadowing for the coming months. He gave up nine walks and 11 hits in 10 innings, much of that coming late in the spring when most pitchers are rounding into form.

But the Cubs ignored those signs and dubbed him the closer to start the season. It was a disaster. Then, when it became obvious he could only get people out in anything but a game the Cubs were leading, they still gave him chances in the eighth and ninth innings. Finally, there was no salvaging Marmol, not after giving up four runs in the ninth inning against the New York Mets earlier this month. The Cubs lost 4-3.

Marmol has no trade value and he was hurting the team, and so finally, the Cubs designated him for assignment. They nearly got a name starting pitcher (Dan Haren) for him in the offseason, but now they'll get nothing for him while still paying him not to pitch at Wrigley Field -- where he heard those boos.

The damage has been done. At least there won't be more.