Jason Marquis Far from a Perfect Fit

jason-marquis-roxA while back, Jason Marquis began to lobby for a Mets contract offer through his friend and advocate Jeff Francoeur. Now he’s made a full-blown pitch, suggesting to Bart Hubbach that he and the Mets are a “perfect fit”.

As we’ve discussed earlier, Jason Marquis needs the Mets involved if he’s to obtain a multi-year, multimillion-dollar contract from an MLB team. It’s that simple. The Mets are known to overpay free agents year in and year out, particularly when they have an urgent need to fill. This year, the onus is on the Mets to find at least one reliable and durable veteran starting pitcher, and Marquis not only fits that bill but is coming off the best season of his career.

In many ways, I like the idea of Marquis as a Met. He would fit in nicely as an innings-eater at the back end of the rotation. You know he’ll take the ball every fifth day, compete, and give your team a decent chance to win. But he won’t be worth the many millions nor the multiple years he’ll likely get this winter.

That’s not only because he’s a younger, better-hitting version of Jeff Suppan or Steve Trachsel — essentially, a .500 pitcher whose main value is the ability to take the ball 32 times a year. It’s also because there’s something fishy about his aggressiveness in lobbying the Mets. Sure, he needs them to make an outlandish offer — and they will, once they miss out on John Lackey — but you have to wonder if something else is going on.

One theory — suggested by “Ceetar” on Twitter — is perhaps Marquis is hiding an injury. As far as I know “Ceetar” has no inside sources, and neither do I, so let’s make clear that this is mere conjecture, with no basis in fact. But it’s something to wonder, especially considering Marquis’ significant drop off in performance in the final months of the 2009 season, combined with his 10 years and 1500 innings of MLB service.

In Marquis’ defense, he hasn’t been on the DL with an arm issue since a shoulder injury in 2002. And perhaps his dropoff down the stretch had to do with blister issues that began around the All-Star break.

But even if he isn’t hiding injury, Marquis just turned 31, and most pitchers begin to break down in their early 30s, if they haven’t already. I’m guessing that he’ll be looking for something along the lines of a 3- or 4- year deal, sending him beyond age 35, at around $10-13M per season. Far-fetched? Consider that his last contract — a 3-year, $21M deal — was netted after his WORST MLB season. The dearth of pitching since then has not subsided, and the price of durable pitchers continues to go up.

I do believe Jason Marquis would give the Mets at least two solid years, especially pitching half his games in Citi Field (though he might not hit with as much power). But again, I see him more as a Jeff Suppan or Steve Trachsel type — giving you 180-200 IP, a 12-12 record, maybe 14 wins with a little luck. Considering that the Mets’ second-best starter went 10-12, Marquis would be an upgrade. But for what he’ll cost, he’s far from a “perfect fit”.

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. captain tug mcgraw November 19, 2009 at 6:06 pm
    dum post. crazy conclusions based on nothing. Did you forget he’s a local guy?
  2. joejanish November 19, 2009 at 6:39 pm
    Captain Tug – holy cow you mean Marquis is from NY? I had no idea! I must have missed that fact, even though it was in the first paragraph of the cited Hubbach article, and even though I mentioned it myself in previous posts on MetsToday!

    So … wow … if Marquis wants to play for the Mets because he’s from NY, then maybe he’ll take a “hometown discount” ? Yeah, right.

    Bobby Bonilla was a local guy too — how did that work out?

    BTW, I think you meant to type “dumb”.

  3. isuzudude November 19, 2009 at 7:13 pm
    “captain” is dead wrong. Thank you for writing this, Joe.

    The conlcusion is that Jason Marquis is not worth his asking price, and here’s what its based on:
    1. Marquis was 4-7 with a 4.56 ERA and .284 opp avg. over the 2nd half of ’09.
    2. Marquis has not posted an ERA under 4.00 over the past 5 seasons.
    3. Since becoming a fulltime starer in 2004, the team in which Marquis has pitched for has never missed the playoffs. Despite that, Marquis owns a record of only 12 games over .500. That means, on average, Marquis is only winning 2 more games in which he lost, even though every team he’s pitched for was a playoff team. So you can derive that Marquis is roughly a .500 pitcher on really good teams, and I fret what he’d become on a Met team likely to struggle for place 3rd in 2010.
    4. Culminating what was his best statistical year in 2009, the Rockies nearly left him off their postseason roster. He was relegated to bullpen duty in the NLDS, and appeared in just 1 game. Same for 2008, while in ’07 and ’06 he was left off the postseason roster altogether.

    Reviewing those FACTS, tell me why you believe it to be a responsible idea to bring Marquis in as the #2 pitcher and why he would be worth $10M+ per year? The guy is already in his 30s so it’s safe to say he’s peaked and is on his way downhill. The only thing Marquis seems adept at is piching in 30+ games and compiling 190+ innings. Can’t the same be said for Mike Pelfrey, though? If he were on the open market, would he be worth $10M+?

    I’m a local guy, Captain. Should the Mets sign me? What an absolutely ridiculous thing to base a signing on. Wise up!

  4. Tommy2cat November 20, 2009 at 6:39 am
    I’ll keep this simple:

    Joe – I share your reservations about Marquis – we could as easily suit up Redding, Figueroa, Maine, Niese, Ollie, Misch, Stoner, Pelfrey, etc… for the same level of performance, give a little here, take a litte there.

    We NEED another no. 1 starter to pair with Johan and should consider the 2010-11 crop as part of an actual PLAN to improve the organization. So, I’m not jumping off the GWB if we don’t sign Lackey or trade for Halladay this year. I’d rather the club take its time and do it right.

    I would be extremely reticent in speculating about whether a ballplayer is hiding an injury. Its beneath the quality of this website, which I otherwise consider very sound in quality.

  5. metsobsessed November 20, 2009 at 10:01 pm
    You know what’s amazing though? Not one single free agent pitcher appeals to me. John Lackey would definitely get hurt (and with our medical staff, lord help us), Marquis has been ripped to shreds above, Joel Piniero is an almost-certain bust, Randy Wolf will be lucky to repeat his 2008, Rich Harden/Erik Bedard/Ben Sheets are way too injury-prone for the Mets to consider gambling on them, etc. The only guy that I would want is Roy Halladay, and he’s way too expensive and a target of the Yankees. Really, Matt Holliday has to be brought in, because the pitching market is terrible enough to justify giving him a Beltran-type contract.
  6. Shamik November 21, 2009 at 11:58 am
    If I were the Mets, I’d spend the offseason signing Holliday and a decent catcher, and getting a Pineiro/Marquis/Wolf type pitcher on a favorable deal. Then I’d get a Bedard/Harden/Sheets/Duchscherer pitcher to add to Maine, Perez, Pelfrey. I’d pay extra attention to those last three – proper offseason training/nutrition to get healthy, work on mechanics, and send them to a sports shrink since all of them are headcases.

    This way, I field a decent team next year and if we’re in the running, maybe swing a midseason trade. What it does is allow me to set myself up for a strong FA class in ’11 where I can snag another bat and pitcher and keep my prospects. This allows me to be financially flexible and competitive for the long run.

  7. Ivanmetfan November 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm
    Shamik how does signin Matt Holliday allow you to be financially flexible in 2011? That will just be a waste. Matt Holliday is not a power hitter we need power or speed preferably speed in the outfield and power at first that is how citifield is built. Giving Matt Holliday 100M contract will only handicap us for 2011 freeagent class. This is a good year for us as far as money coming off the books. We must be smart about spending not throwin money on a bunch of pitchers coming off injuries and 24 25 HR guys like Holliday. We need sure things and we need to win now as well as keep Ike Davis and Neise everyone else can GO!!Farm systems are overrated a farm system will give you maybe 1 or 2 superstars once in a while the rest are jus trade bait. Are mets fans willing to wait 5 years and take a CHANCE that the young guys are going to be anygood or are we going to try and win now when we have wright reyes santana beltran krod and francoeur in there prime. If we give up now and make dumb deals we are basically sayin that all of the moves we made are a waste that we dont want to win. We can win now and as long as we keep Ike Davis and Neise we still will have a future. Remember we draft every year so talent will come and go from the Minors. We need to win now we cant keep embarrassing our selves like we did this year. Trade for Halladay Pelfrey Murphy Tejada and Parnell. And Halladays extension money wont kick in until 2011. Sign Delgado to 5 mill with incentives as a stop gap for Ike Davis remember Delgado hit 38 hr with a bad hip in 08 and he jus fixed his hip so he can hit at least 29/100. and sign Marquis if he wants 8-10mil for 3 years give it to him he’s an innings eater. We dont need anyone in 2011 unless we are tryin to get mauer but I doubt we will. Mauer though is a great player but we need pitching pitching and more pitching. We dont need to spend money on LF we have the perfect guy in Pagan, Speed, decent glove, SB threat, in his prime 28 years old, gap hitter triples doubles, and is a switch hitter. We have a capable backup in Nick Evans jus in case pagan goes down and Nick can also give Delgado some rest at first base. Leave Omir Santos as the starting catcher if you dont want to spend money on a catcher who is fat and slow and hit 20 hrs and is commanding alot of money….cough cough Bengie Molina. Sign JJ Putz to a lesser deal or jus sign Beimel im sure beimel is not going to command a huge contract. So all we need to do is trade for Halladay give him the extension. We have the money. Sign Marquis. Resign Delgado to a 5 mill deal(left handed bat with power 30/100 guy) who would u rather face if u were a pitcher Delgado or Murphy? do those four moves and we are going to be contenders in 2010 and still keep Ike Davis and Neise the only 2 prospects that are really close to ML ready and really matter in my eyes.
  8. Ivanmetfan November 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm
    Holliday is the scariest Free Agent ever. He is decieving. He is not a power hitter 24 25hr. He has had the benefit of hittin in Coors Field and in front of Pujols which boosts his numbers. Look what happened in Oakland without those benefits he stunk. His fielding is terrible and he has no speed. He is a linedrive hitter like most major league hitters. Id rather keep a Murphy who I dont like on this team then give 100 mil to Holliday. Murphy will be as good a hitter as Holliday in the next few years with the same average 20 hr like holliday and a .300 hitter but again no true power or true speed nothing special. Thas is why he is perfect for Toronto in the American League where he can DH and play 1B or sub for 3B. Citifield is built for Pitchers and guys with speed. 1B is the only position where we can fill it with a true Power Bat so we need to do that. I am not taking a Power Bat in the outfield and sacrificing my outfield defense everytime Santana takes the mound. I need guys who can track the ball down in the gaps make diving plays and hit linedrives not homeruns our firstbaseman is suppose to do that as well as our 3b and centerfielder.
  9. Broadway a Blue Jay and Other News : Mets Today December 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm
    […] Meanwhile, free-agent righthander Jason Marquis announced he is a “perfect fit” for the Washington Nationals. Hmm, where have I heard that before? […]