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The Chicago Cubs closer, Ryan Dempster, announced today he no longer wants any part of the ninth inning unless, of course, he’s throwing a complete game (insert laugh track). The Dumpster was once a mediocre starter and I see no reason why he can’t return to his humble beginnings. The big story really is:

WHO IS GOING TO TAKE OVER CLOSER FOR THE CUBS?

The Upstart:
Carlos Marmol
5-1/96/1.43/1.10 in 69.1 innings
His numbers were phenomenal. It’s not easy to strike out 96 batters in less than 70 innings. His stuff is obviously closer-like. He had one save so Lou Piniella didn’t fully trust him. Why not? Cause Lou doesn’t play the young guys in crucial spots. Look at the tight leash Murton and Pie have had so far. Marmol will be out there in the seventh and/or the eighth, not the ninth. At least not this season.

The Reclamation
Kerry Wood
His numbers don’t matter. You know he’s good, but can he stay healthy. This would be a feel-good story the size of Rick Ankiel pre-HGH. Can it happen? Not very likely. Sure, he’ll be given the ball in close games, and may even close a few, but he’s too wild for the closer role. And, more than likely, he’ll get injured again. So we’ll probably see lots of hype about how great Kerry Wood would (stutterer!) be as closer, but it’s not going to happen.

The New Closer
Bob Howry
6-7/72/3.32/1.17 in 81.1 innings
He’s been dependable for two years, he has the stuff to strikeout anyone at any given moment and he’s the safest option. It’s not as exciting as Marmol or as feel-goody as Wood, but teams play it safe and Piniella in particular is a conservative manager. I’m sure the entire season the Chicago press and the baseball world will be waiting for Howry to lose the job and he will from time to time, but at the end of the season, Howry will have the most saves on the Cubs and Marmol will have the best numbers.