The Chicago Cubs and right-handed pitcher Carlos Marmol have agreed to terms on a three-year contract. The deal covers Marmol's final two seasons of arbitration eligibility and his first year of free agency. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Marmol, 28, last season set a franchise record with 138 strikeouts as a reliever and recorded 38 saves in his first full season as the club's closer, fourth-most in the National League. His 15.99 strikeouts per 9.0 innings marked the highest total for a reliever in major league history, surpassing Eric Gagne's 14.98 mark in 2003 by more than a full strikeout. The 138 strikeouts were the 10th most in a single season by any reliever in major league history.
Overall last season, Marmol went 2-3 with 38 saves, a 2.55 ERA (22 ER/77.2 IP) and .147 batting average against in 77 relief outings. His 38 saves tied for third-highest in franchise history, as he finished the season by converting his final 17 save opportunities (dating to August 21) with an 18.2 scoreless inning streak (dating to August 25). His .147 batting average against tied for the second-lowest mark among all big league relievers. Marmol also allowed only one home run in 77.2 innings pitched, an average of 0.12 home runs per 9.0 innings.
Since the start of the 2007 season, Marmol leads all major league relief pitchers with 441 strikeouts and a .154 batting average against. He went 5-1 with a 1.43 ERA (11 ER/69.1 IP) in 59 appearances in 2007, his first season pitching exclusively in relief. In 2008, he made his first Opening Day roster and earned a spot on the National League All-Star team, compiling a 2-4 record with seven saves and a 2.82 ERA (26 ER/87.1 IP) in a career-high 82 relief appearances.
Marmol took over as the club's closer August 18, 2009 and has since successfully converted 49 of 54 save opportunities, a 91 percent success rate. Prior to moving into the closer's role, Marmol tied the all-time franchise record with 73 career holds, including a franchise single-season record 30 holds in 2008 and 27 holds in 2009 before changing roles.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Marmol is 16-19 with a 3.25 ERA (139 ER/385.1 IP) in 316 career major league outings, all but 13 in relief. He is 11-13 with 61 saves, 73 holds and a 2.66 ERA (94 ER/317.2 IP) in his 303 career relief appearances. The native of Banao, Dominican Republic was originally signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent on July 3, 1999 as a catcher/outfielder and was converted to a pitcher during the 2002 campaign.