mb21 On Carlos Marmol

The thoughts concerning the Cubs somewhat-beleaguered closer continue to come in. Late yesterday, the great mb21 offered his thoughts on the matter:
Prior to the Cubs signing Carlos Marmol to a 3-year extension this past offseason, there was a lot of talk about how Marmol was one of those guys who could have a very low [batting average on balls in play]. His BABIP as a reliever since 2007 had been .241, which is well below the average and even below the average for an extreme fly ball pitcher. It's well over .300 this season and since the beginning of 2010 his BABIP is .312. That's higher than we'd expect even for an average pitcher, but quite a bit higher for someone like Marmol.
I think if combine mb21's thoughts with Harry Pavlidis's, we start to see the full picture:

Marmol had a low BABIP. His pitches started losing their edge. His BABIP went up.

That's a story we could probably tell about many relievers — and that's precisely why giving relievers long-term contracts can be so dicey. Granted, Marmol's extension was not the worst in the world, but it still serves as a warning: Relievers are volatile.

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