The Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN. LA sends reliever Matt Guerrier in exchange for Marmol and around $209,000 of internation signing bonus money.
Winners of eight of their last nine, the Dodgers remain in last but are now just 3.5 games behind the first-place Diamondbacks. The NL West is the tightest (read: worst) division in baseball this year and a key deadline acquisition could decide who backs into a playoff spot.
Carlos Marmol is not that acquisition. The Cubs designated him for assignment six days ago after briefly running his season ERA over 6.00. The 30-year-old is on pace to set career highs in BB/9, H/9 and HR/9 and his lowest K/9 total since 2006. Primarily an eighth- and ninth-inning guy in Chicago, Marmol was just two of five in save opportunities before being sent down.
Guerrier, 34, was having his worst season since 2008 and was designated for assignment Sunday. His lone peripheral that stands out is hit rate, as his walks and strikeouts are close to career norms. Guerrier was giving up 9.6 hits per nine innings, his worst total since that dreaded 2008 season. The culprit appears to be infield hits, as 12.5% of the ground balls Guerrier has allowed have gone for base hits. Compare that to his 0.0% last season and you can see where the small sample size goblins can work their magic. To be clear, Guerrier has not pitched well, but there is data to back up the notion that he has been a bit unlucky.
If I had to bet on one pitcher to perform better — or at least pitch closer to career averages — my money is on Guerrier.
Now, about the money. The 209K the Dodgers receive will be added to their international player signing bonus pool. In the most recent MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team is assigned a cap for international spending. The cap is determined by team performance and cap money be traded between teams. Ben Badler of Baseball America breaks down the 2013-2014 bonus pools available to teams here.
The Dodgers have the 18th-highest total with $2,112,900. For reference, the Astros have the most with almost $5 million and the Nationals have the least, under $2 mil. The Cubs, even after the 209K to the Dodgers, have over $4 million to spend on international players.
Guerrier and Marmol, both free agents after this season, will play out their current contracts being paid by their new team. Marmol will earn about $5 million in the second half of the season while Guerrier is due about half that.
The Dodgers certainly don’t mind the extra payroll, having racked up a league-leading $220 million in 2013 salary already. The only limit placed on the Dodgers’ spending is the CBA itself, which assigns draft and international bonus limits. So good work, Dodgers. Always finding ways to spend more money.