Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Angel Guzman Intriguing as Potential Cubs Closer

Despite Cubs manager Lou Piniella's choice of Carlos Marmol to replace Kevin Gregg as closer, bullpen stalwart Angel Guzman remains an intriguing dark horse to land the job before the end of the year.

Sure, Marmol throws hard, but the landscape is littered with hurlers whose fastballs approach 100 mph or more but can't find the plate. Look for the Marmol experiment to be short lived, then see what Guzman does when he finally gets his shot -- which he will.

Though Marmol has been effectively wild, Piniella remains concerned that he gives up nearly a walk an inning and sometimes resists coaching to stick with fastballs rather than resort to off-speed offerings when he struggles with control.

Meanwhile, a vague undercurrent favoring Guzman as closer has been detected in the Cubs clubhouse for months, to say nothing of overt public speculation that Piniella should give Guzman a try. After all, Guzman has often been regarded as the closer of the future.