MILWAUKEE – Kevin Gregg said he knows how Carlos Marmol felt as the home fans booed him relentlessly.
“When I was in Baltimore last year, it was the same thing for me,” Gregg said. “Getting my feet under me and getting a fresh start [in Chicago] was all I needed.”
The 30-year-old Marmol, who succeeded Gregg as the Cubs closer in 2009, is looking for a fresh start after being designated for assignment Tuesday.
“We realized in August of last year that we wouldn’t be able to trade him, or acquire any value for him,” general manager Jed Hoyer said.
“He had a really good second half last year on paper. And no one bid at the August deadline, and we never had any offers that were more than just someone else’s undesirable contract for ours.
“... He did provide value for us pitching in the middle of the game. Obviously, he had struggles that frustrated people with the end of the game. But we held out on this move for a long time.”
The Cubs are responsible for the remaining $4.9 million of Marmol’s $9.8 million salary.
“Marmol was very professional through all this,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “He held himself very accountable. I talked to him on the phone and [he] thanked us and everything … and he did a good job in all of the roles except closing or stressful situations. ... There is something there that can still help people. Maybe a change of scenery will help.”
Marmol knew the move likely was coming.
“We’ve been talking the last few days with [Cubs President Theo] Epstein,” said Marmol’s agent, Paul Kinzer. “But we didn’t know for sure.”
Kinzer said the atmosphere at Wrigley Field was too negative in the last few months.
“He’s still the same guy with the same arm,” Kinzer said. “It has just gotten mental. He loves Chicago but I think in his mind he knows he has to get a fresh start. It’s tough being booed every time you get on the mound.”
The Cubs had agreed to send Marmol to the Angels last winter for Dan Haren, but backed out at the last minute.
Marmol, who holds the franchise mark with 82 career holds, compiled 117 saves, third most in team history. Overall, he went 23-32 with a 3.50 ERA in 483 appearances with the Cubs, 470 in relief.
“The decision really came down [he] had become a distraction,” Hoyer said. “I think it became hard to pitch as well as he could because, you know, every time he threw two balls to start off a first hitter, he was getting booed. It became difficult for his teammates because there was a little bit of a sideshow mentality to it. So we just felt it was the right time.”
Paul Sullivan contributed to this report
• Born Oct. 14, 1982 in Dominican Republic
• Signed as undrafted free agent in 1999
• Converted from catcher to reliever in 2003; made MLB debut on June 4, 2006
• Selected to 2008 All-Ster team
• Was nearly traded to Angels last winter for Dan Haren before Cubs backed out of deal
• 2013: 2-4, 2 saves, 5.86 ERA in 31 appearances; 27 2/3 IP, 19 R, 18 ER, 26 H, 32 SO, 21 BB
• Career: 23-32, 117 saves, 3.50 ERA in 483 appearances (470 in relief); 542 1/3 IP, 223 R, 211 ER, 355 H, 703 SO, 366 BB
• Owns Cubs record with 82 career holds; third-most saves in team history (117)