Francoeur Confused About Marquis?

According to Jeff Francoeur, Colorado pitcher Jason Marquis would “love to” play for the Mets.

Per Frenchy, in the New York Post:

“He’d be a great fit. He’s from Staten Island. He’s a New York type of guy. He’ll probably be coming off the best season he’s ever had.”

Jeff is only half-right. Yes, Jason Marquis would “love” to play in New York — for the Yankees, the team that he grew up rooting for as a Staten Island youngster. But not only because he was a big fan of the Bronx Bombers — but also because the Yankees will PAY.

I strained my oblique muscle from laughter when I read this later sentence typed by Mike Puma in the same article:

Marquis’ easiest path to the Mets would be to accept a hometown discount.

Not likely.

When Jason Marquis was coming off his WORST season as a big leaguer — one in which he lost 16 games, had an ERA over 6, and was left off the Cardinals’ postseason roster as they marched to their improbable championship — he hit the jackpot with a 3-year, $21M deal.

Now, it’s understood that the financial climate in the winter of 2006 was much different than it is now. But considering that Marquis is finishing up the BEST season of his career, I doubt very highly he’s interested in a pay cut.

There aren’t many starting pitchers out there who are a virtual lock to give a team 190+ innings — which Marquis has done five out of the last six years. That on its own, even in a tough market, is worth at least $7-8M per annum (see: Jon Garland). Garland’s price was that low because his ERA was near five and teams felt he was helped by a superior supporting cast. I’d guess that Marquis is looking at a deal in the neighborhood of 3 years / $36M — or what Oliver Perez received last winter. He might get even more, particularly if a New York team enters the bidding. Most likely, the Mets won’t be that New York team — not when they’re looking to cut payroll, rather than add to it.

One more little issue with Jeff Francoeur’s campaign for Marquis — Francoeur himself is not guaranteed to be in New York next year. Personally, I’d be happy to see both Francoeur and Marquis in Mets uniforms next season, but there’s still the matter of arbitration for Frenchy. Rumors abound that the Mets are considering a 3-year extension — in essence to buy out his arbitration years — but as of this moment Francoeur does not have a contract for 2010.

Time will tell. If anything, it shold be an interesting offseason.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 September 22, 2009 at 2:40 pm
    Marquis will:

    1) Be coming off a career-year,

    2) Be looking for as big a pay-day as the market will allow-for,

    3) Probably NOT be pursued by his favorite team of all-time (The Yanks), and

    4) Keep the fact that the Mets traditionally overpay for players’ services in the back of his (very intelligent) mind; and hope to drive up the price somehow.

    I have no doubt in my mind that Marquis would LOVE to come home and play for one of the local-squads before his career’s through — and will one day be afforded the opportunity — but I doubt that this will be on the Mets radar screen this winter.

    They’ve already thrown a ton of money at Oliver Perez….who has pitched very minimally this year (and not anywhere close to the production level of Marquis, for that matter) — and have a bunch of other guys they need to get looks at (to determine whether or not they’re going to be part of the rotation going forward).

    PITCHER-X (addition)
    ….plus all of the other “#5”-types they’ll have auditioning for the very-back end of the rotation…..

    I doubt you’ll see much of a pursuit of Marquis.

    One thing can’t be disputed…..he’s a productive inning-eater who routinely reaches the post-season.

    Tip of the cap to him for what he’s been able to accomplish throughout the course of his Major League career.

    Not to mention that he could probably come here, play a position, and bat within the first 6 slots in the order if he really wanted to…

    Bet he’s cursing the day the Yanks signed A.J. Burnett last off-season!

  2. Mike September 22, 2009 at 5:40 pm
    Don’t be so sure John Maine is a part of the rotation next year. He is in a similar situation as Francoeur is in and the Mets might now bring him back… also maybe I’m not 100% on his contract situation.
  3. Mark September 22, 2009 at 6:38 pm
    Remember too that the Jason Marquis clone who was going to hit the free agent market, Kevin Millwood, isn’t hitting the free agent market anymore. He had his option vested after hitting 180 innings last night. He’s an innings eater who doesn’t over power hitters in the same mold as Marquis. Since one competitor is gone, the demand for Marquis will increase.
  4. joejanish September 22, 2009 at 10:31 pm
    Mike – you’re correct, Maine could also be non-tendered. But I don’t think the Mets will go that route. Even if they did, it would be done to cut payroll for the purpose of spending less money — not to make room for more money for another contract.

    Though, if they can somehow dump the contracts of Perez and Castillo, anything is possible.

    Mark – good point. Also it should be noted that Garland is another Marquis clone, but had a so-so year, as expected. Garland ate innings, and his ERA dropped thanks to the NL, but wasn’t terribly impressive. Marquis’ 15+ wins and sub-4 ERA in a hitter’s park could push him into John Lackeyville. In other words, whomever wants Lackey and loses the bidding war, could spend similar dollars on Marquis. Because the next-best investment in terms of reliability and health is either Braden Looper or Jarrod Washburn. Quite a drop.

  5. Andy September 23, 2009 at 10:30 am
    Are there just too many major league teams? Why should pitching be so thin all the time?
  6. joejanish September 23, 2009 at 10:50 am
    Yes, there are too many MLB teams. It’s been that way since the early 1990s, when the league expanded from 26 to 30 teams.

    Some feel there were too many after Toronto and Seattle were added in the mid-1970s.

    That’s the nutshell … I could write an entire book on all the reasons why pitching is thin at the MLB level in modern times.

  7. isuzudude September 24, 2009 at 10:47 am
    On closer examination, regardless of what Francoeur says, I think the Mets would be best served steering as clear from Marquis as possible. As has been astutely pointed out already, Marquis is in line for a big payday after his solid 2009 season. He’s already making $9.8-mil this season, and it’s hard imagining that number going down with how relatively well he’s pitched this year. An arguement can be made that he’s pitched better than Derek Lowe this year, and since Lowe is fresh off signing a 4-yr, $60-mil contract this past winter at the age of 35, it is certainly conceivable that Marquis could start negotiations this offseason at $15-mil per season. I don’t think the Mets want to be spending that type of dough on a #3/4 starter.

    Furthermore, I doubt Marquis is even worth that kind of cash, or even half of it. It’s been known to happen that players kick it into an extra gear in a walk-year, setting themselves up to reap the rewards in the offseason, and then regress back to their career norms (or worse) after they’ve signed on the dotted lines. And those career norms for Marquis aren’t really that enticing, save for the durability. Since 2005, Marquis is 65-60 (only 5 games over .500 despite playing for 3 good teams over that span in the Cards, Cubs, and Rox) with a 4.63 ERA. Is that really worth $15-mil per season, or even $10-mil for that matter? Not by my standards, no matter how desperate the Mets are for starting pitching.

    I ask the question, what can Marquis do that the cheaper, younger Mike Pelfrey can’t? Look at their stats over the past 2 seasons and you’ll see they’re virtually one in the same. So I ponder, do we really want 2 Mike Pelfrey’s in the rotation, especially considering if one is going to be making more money than Oliver Perez? The Mets need a clear-cut #2 to slot in after Johan and relieve the pressure off Pelfrey/Ollie/Maine. That’s why I like John Lackey, despite his projected pricetag this winter.

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