Scouting The Trade Market: Jason Marquis


(Photo Credit: Flickr user Keith Allison via Creative Commons license)

As the rumors about Ubaldo Jimenez swirl, you can bet the Yankees are covering all their bases by looking for pitching elsewhere at the same time. One pitcher Jerry Crasnick says is available is Jason Marquis of the Nationals, which makes sense. Washington is out of it and he’s not a part of their long-term future, so they might as well cash in the chip before he leaves as a free agent. The Staten Island native has been pretty vocal about wanting to pitch near home at some point in his career, so is it worth it for the Yankees to make his wish come true? Let’s explore…

The Pros

  • Marquis is very quietly enjoying the best season of his career. His 5.42 K/9 is his best strikeout rate since 2004, and his 2.75 BB/9 is his best walk rate ever. A 53.7% ground ball rate is right in line with his last two years as well as his peak years from 2003-2005.
  • He’s a true three-pitch pitcher, getting ground balls with his high-80′s sinker (that will occasionally run as high as 93) and mid-80′s slider. He’ll also use a low-80′s changeup and yeah, every so often he’ll bust out a straight four-seam fastball. That’s just a show-me pitch though, a 3-0 auto-strike offering or something. The sinker-slider-changeup combo is how he makes his living, and because of that repertoire he has a negligible platoon split both this year and for his career.
  • Marquis has pitched in large markets like St. Louis and Chicago before, which is always a plus. He’s also pitched in the playoffs several times, including with the Cardinals during their 2004 NL pennant run.
  • The final year of his contract will pay him about $1.25M a month from here on out ($7.5M total salary), which is pretty cheap.

The Cons

  • After throwing fewer than 190 IP just once from 2004-2009, Marquis was limited to just 13 starts and 58.2 IP last season because of bone chips in his throwing elbow. He had surgery and was out from late-April until early-August. He’s been healthy since and hasn’t missed a start this year.
  • Marquis has little margin for error because he can’t miss bats when he needs to. He’s a classic pitch-to-contact guy, getting a swing and miss just 7.0% of the time this year, essentially identical to his 6.8% career mark. Those kinds of guys are tough to count on against good lineups.
  • He’s a career National League pitcher and has performed pretty poorly during interleague play, a 5.50 ERA and ~4.89 FIP in 168.2 IP over the course of his career.
  • He does not project as either a Type-A or B free agent and is pretty far from off from the cut-off, so no draft pick(s) if he leaves as a free agent. Marquis has already started talking about a multi-year contract extension, but whatever team employs him is under no obligation to give it to him.

For what it’s worth, Larry Rothschild was Marquis’ pitching coach when he was with the Cubs in 2007 and 2008, so there’s already a bit of a relationship and familiarity there. Let’s not kid ourselves here, Marquis is no savior. He’s a decent fourth or fifth starter option at best, something the Yankees already have plenty of. If they could get him for dirt cheap, say a Grade-C prospect and take on the salary, there’s no harm in it just to have him around as depth. The Yankees need to focus on getting a high-end starter though, guys like Marquis are filler. Not useless, but not a difference maker.

Categories : Trade Deadline


  1. jay destro says:


  2. Spencer says:

    Oh please God no.

  3. Adam says:

    Freddy Garcia. Only not as good.

  4. Nick says:

    This was your mystery pitcher!?!??!?!

  5. Andrew says:

    I threw up a little, please lord no.

  6. CC's third leg says:

    No thanks

  7. didn’t get past the picture….no..no way, dear god no.

  8. If they could get him for dirt cheap, say a Grade-C prospect and take on the salary, there’s no harm in it just to have him around as depth.

    Shaffer Hall? Josh Schmidt? DeAngelo Mack? Brad Suttle?


  9. CMP says:

    He’s no better than AJ or Garcia and in fact might now even be as good as those 2 so I’d pass.

  10. Xstar7 says:

    “The Yankees need to focus on getting a high end starter though, guys like Marquis are filler. Not useless, but not a difference maker.”

    Well that settles it doesn’t it? These are the kind of guys Cashman was looking for before the season just to coast the Yankees along. But now they need a legitimate #2 starter. Marquis is not our guy.

    • hornblower says:

      The Yanks don’t need a high end starter. They need a bat. The DH spot is a wasteland and name players like Jeter and Posada are really on the downside. Swisher can only hit from the right side and tough lefties give Grandy trouble. Tex is struggling from the left side. The shift on the infield really hurts his effectiveness.
      At the moment this is not an American League lineup. The good pitching has obscured that fact.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      “But now they need a legitimate #2 starter. Marquis is not our guy.”

      Now they want a legit #2… but there may only be one or two or so of those types actually available (Kuroda, Dempster, …). If the Yankees cannot trade for one of those guys are a palatable price, adding a Marquis-type on the cheap for depth may make some sense if they’ve got enough places to store people short-term (which they may not). Not all that likely, but a possibility.

      • CMP says:

        Disagree. The Yankees have plenty back end starters in AJ, Garcia, Nova, Noesi and Warren. Marquis is the AL east is no better than any of them.

  11. Reggie C. says:

    When i saw the photo I thought JORDAN Zimmerman. Zimm is the only starter in that Strasburg-less rotation that could interest Cashman. Would rather give the ball to Nova instead of Marquis.

  12. EndlessMikeJr says:

    How about Chien-Ming Wang?

    Oh sorry I thought this was the pick any horrible pitcher to trade for thread.

  13. Freddy Garcia's 86 mph Heat says:

    Nope. He’ll end up being what we thought Freddy Garcia would be.

  14. Jerome S. says:

    The problem with the Yankees isn’t a lack of depth, it’s a lack of good pitching after Sabathia. Most contending teams have the ace and then the solid number two. The Angels have Weaver, then Haren; The Rangers have Wilson, then Holland; the White Sox have that muddle of number 2-3 guys. On the Yankees it’s Sabathia and… basically four number four starters. Considering that we have a bunch of those, no, there is no reason to have this guy. A number two or another ace is what’s necessary.

    • CMP says:

      Hughes and Colon have the ability to fill the 2/3 slots but neither is close to a sure thing for various reasons.

      Everything would have to break just right for the Yankees to have enough quality starting pitching to confidently go into the postseason as presently constituted.

      • David, Jr. says:

        Precisely. After Sabathia there will be very dicey matchups against top contenders. This is apparently controversial here, but if you asked ten GM’s at least nine would tell you that.

        • It’s not controversial here.

          What was controversial was your boversimplification of the issue, starting with the fact that Sabathia is not “facing” the other team’s top starter, both he and the other teams top starter are facing their opponents’ respective offenses.

          • Jim S says:

            It’s easier to just blindly believe your first instinct and call everyone else idiots, rather than to adjust your own beliefs when presented with a coherent counter-argument.

          • David, Jr. says:

            It is just one factor. They could go with exactly what they have, and if AJ Burnett pitched three playoff games where he went at least 7 innings and gave up no more than two runs, and half the team hit blazingly hot, and Gardner made six ESPN highlight catches, they could win.

            It is just something that is particularly pertinent leading up to this deadline, for a variety of reasons.

            I’m betting that they do something quite major. We will know soon.

    • “The Rangers have Wilson, then Holland Ogando and Harrison.”


    • CP says:

      And the Red Sox have Beckett and then Lackey (and then Miller, Wakefield and Weiland).

  15. You left out what might be an important con for Marquis (and many of the pitchers like him):

    He hasn’t pitched out of the bullpen since 2003. 223 of his last 226 appearances have been as a starter.

    Unless we’re acquiring an Ubaldo Jimenez (i.e. someone heads and shoulders better than one of our incumbent starters), any fringy back-end guy we’re looking at for depth needs to be fungible enough to sit and wait in the bullpen (or Scranton) until we actually need them.

    Marquis obviously isn’t displacing CC, AJ, or Colon; Hughes needs to be in the rotation as well to build towards October; Marquis isn’t demonstrably better than Garcia and Freddy has earned the deference.

    I don’t know if we’re putting Marquis in the bullpen until one of Colon/Garcia/Hughes regresses or implodes. I doubt it.

  16. IRF says:

    Low K rate, average-ish walk rate, and lots of grounders sounds just like Ivan Nova

  17. duzzi23 says:

    I’m sorry you lost me at Jason Marquis. That would be a terrible pickup

  18. dkidd says:

    just imagine what sterling would do with this

    “and marquis has struck out de side (pronounced sahd)!!!”

  19. Gonzo says:

    So this post is secretly about him being a DH pickup?

  20. Frank says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA hilarious post.

    I’d rather see Kei Igawa

  21. duzzi23 says:

    Id rather have Charlie Sheen pitch before Kei Igawa

  22. j Nitai says:

    The Yanks Have a #1 and 4 #4-5 Startig pitchers. The bottom line stats are wins and losses. Hughes is a potential #2-3, but until he can show it he is only a #4-5; Nova is a Potential #3-4, his era has gotten better each month this season and more importantly the yanks win when he is on the mound learning to pitch; Burnett is a #4-5,and from may to the present he is 3-7 W/L, a #5. Burnett’s era has gotten progressively worse each month this season and he mostly pitches the Yanks into a deficit position, 2-3 runs behind. Colon is a #4 with potential to be a #3-5. Garcia is a #5. The Yanks should ultimately Make Burnett a closer in the mold of Eckersly, who was also initially a starter. maybe then Burnett would want to bear down and not save himself and his arm for the long run, ala “wildthing”.

  23. Joey H says:

    The only thing he provides over the 4th 5th guys we already have is that he can be healthier with less statistical guarantees. CAN be. Not what this team needs, so pass. In a perfect world we want to find someone that we are confidence can blow it by the Red Sox and Rangers. Marquis, isn’t that.

  24. MikeD says:

    If the Yankees acquire another starter, then the starter needs to be better than what they already have; otherwise, they haven’t gained anything, but will also have lost a prospect. Is Marquis better than Colon or Garcia or Hughes or Nova? No. Pass.

    • Mike HC says:

      Yea, definitely no point in trading anything for Marquis. I think not only should the guy be an upgrade for this season, but also someone that is going to be around for at least the next couple of years. This year, it seems like the Colon and Garcia band aids are going to work out, but that only puts off the very glaring hole of a sure thing long term starting pitcher other than CC.

  25. Bronx Byte says:

    With the exception of Ubaldo Jimenez it’s a weak year to deal for starting pitching at the 7/31 trading deadline. Rather than pay a king’s ransom for Jimenez, the Yankees are better off to stay with the pitching they have and go after a bat that can jump start the sluggish offense.

  26. cranky says:

    In the AL East, Marquis would be meat.

  27. Marc says:

    What about Hiroki Kuroda? Dodgers are shopping him. He could be an interesting option.

  28. roy says:

    What about Jason Vargas? Mariners are shopping him. The lefty could be an interesting option.

  29. MannyGeee says:

    Marquis is just another meh pitcher. You would have had my attention in April when we did not know what the club had in Garcia and Colon, but I am not confident that Marquis outpitches either of them.

    counterpoint, that GB% is dead sexy. if we didnt have a defensive black hole between Cano and A-Rod (well, Cano and the visitors dugout for the next 1.5 months, I’m supposin), I might be more intrigued…

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