SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Before pitching against the Angels on Sunday, Carlos Marmol was asked if he was excited to face his almost-former teammates.
"For seven hours," he said with a grin, recalling the day in November when he was a Cub, then an Angel and then a Cub again.
"They traded me," he said Tuesday. "I'm still here, though."
The question now is how long Marmol will remain. Entering the final season of his three-year, $20 million contract, it's a good bet the Cubs will try to move him to a contender. Speculation already has begun the Tigers may be interested in a deal involving him and Detroit starter Rick Porcello, though the teams have not talked about it.
The Marmol saga began when the Cubs and Angels had talks on a straight up deal for starter Dan Haren in October. The Angels were on the short list of teams Marmol declined to be traded to, so the Cubs asked if he would waive his rights.
Much to the Cubs' surprise, Marmol initially said no-thanks.
"I didn't want to go, because I wanted to stay a Cub," Marmol said.
Marmol knew the Cubs faced another year of rebuilding while the Angels were expected to be a contender. Theoretically, Marmol could have built up his saves total and made more money on the open market next winter if he had gone to the Angels.
"It's a good team," he said of the Angels. "But sometimes you have to think about your family. It's too far, and the Dominican (Republic) is a way different time zone. ... I had to think about it."
After talking to his family, Marmol changed his mind a few hours later and informed the Cubs he was willing to go. Reports the deal was done surfaced in the Dominican and quickly reached the U.S. media via Twitter.
But the Cubs had last-minute reservations about Haren's health, and the Angels wanted them to pay part of Marmol's $9.8 million salary, along with the $15.5 million they would be paying Haren. The Cubs suddenly pulled the deal off the table.
Cubs President "Theo (Epstein) called me and said, 'It's not on, sorry,' " Marmol said. "But it was no problem. I was happy (to stay)."
"That whole thing didn't affect anything," general manager Jed Hoyer said. "There was a small miscommunication, but there's no blame on either side. Carlos is our closer."
Marmol doesn't worry about what will happen next and has other matters to deal with. He's still awaiting a judicial decision in the Dominican. A woman has accused him of abuse, but he is confident there will be no trial.
The Cubs won't say publicly Marmol is trade bait but obviously they have another closer candidate in Kyuji Fujikawa. After returning to his closer's spot last May, Marmol converted a career-best 19 straight save opportunities from May 2 to Sept. 14, posting a 0.49 earned-run average.
"I give Carlos a lot of credit," Hoyer said. "He came back from a really shaky early season, lost his (closer's) job and he fought really hard to get it back.
"Based on all we've seen this spring, he still has that same mindset. He's our closer and we're excited to have him."
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