The Red Sox announced that they have signed Carlos Marmol to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.
The good news: this is not bad news.
The indifferent news: Carlos Marmol isn't good news.
Once upon a time, he would have been among the biggest names in an already big-name bullpen. Not the lefty they'd prefer, no, but someone who could come in and shut down a lineup no matter which side of the plate they came at him from.
Those days are long past. Five years, really. Marmol has never been a particularly in-control pitcher. He made his way through those successful years with unreasonably high strikeout rates to match his unreasonably high walk rates. It worked. But then those numbers grew closer together, and everything went to hell. This offseason, after not appearing in a single major league game, Marmol threw seven innings for Licey in the Dominican Winter League. He walked a dozen batters and struck out four. That he allowed only two runs in the process is a small miracle, but doesn't make up for the rest.
Now Marmol is...well, he's our little dose of Daniel Bard, who I seem to have on the mind today. And not one anybody really wanted. Players like Marmol and Bard (and Masterson, and Sizemore, and...) are like a constant reminder of your mortality in spring. Things break, stars fade, and sometimes it happens all too soon.
Maybe Marmol will be the reclamation project that worked! Maybe he'll take Boston's bullpen from excellent to historic!
But he won't. They almost never do, and when they do, there's more sign that it might happen with this guy, this time. The pitcher that Carlos Marmol once was seems for all the world to be gone. The Red Sox have just signed the man he left behind.