Jul 23

Dodgers activate Marmol, but hold your shudders

Frightening many a fan, the Dodgers have put Carlos Marmol on their active roster, sending Jose Dominguez to the minor leagues.

Marmol was cast off by Chicago after allowing 50 baserunners and a 5.86 ERA in 27 2/3 innings for the Cubs this year. The Dodgers took a low-risk flyer on him as a reclamation project, and given how small the investment was, it’s worth a shot.

Comparisons to Brandon League have been made, but Marmol’s career strikeout rate is nearly double that of League. As bad as he has been, Marmol offers more reason for optimism.

Dominguez has excited many with his promise, but the reality of his pitching is that he was allowing baserunners at a higher rate than even League, while posting a lower strikeout rate. Since his perfect debut, Dominguez has allowed 15 baserunners against 22 outs, a .417 on-base percentage against him. Dominguez has struggled to complete innings, and his ERA has been kept low in part because other relievers have bailed him out. I’d be happy to wait out his on-the-job development, but that’s not a reason to assume he’s better for the Dodgers at this very minute than Marmol is.

If Marmol turns out to be a lost cause, the Dodgers can cut bait quickly (unlike with League, whose three-year contract requires them to have more patience). But if the Dodgers can catch Marmol on an upswing, there could be a net gain that also possibly prevents the Dodgers from making a worse bullpen decision (say, an Octavio Dotel-style trade) down the road.

Honestly, I don’t know. Sure, Marmol might make the Dodgers worse, but I just won’t immediately rule out that he can make them better.

Update: The Dodgers have issued a correction, saying that Dominguez has gone to the disabled list with a left quad strain. Dominguez was limping as he left Monday’s game.

Dodgers at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m.