After the 2006 season ended, the future of Jason Marquis seemed to be very much in doubt. Marquis was coming off the worst season of his career where he posted an embarrassing 6.02 for the Cardinals and even led the league in home runs allowed and earned runs allowed.
Luckily for Marquis, he became a free agent at the perfect time. Teams were desperate for pitching and the Cubs decided to take a chance on Marquis. A very expensive chance. The Cubs signed Marquis to a 3 year/$24 million dollar contract that baffled most of the baseball world.
For the first two years of that contract, Marquis was nothing more than a mediocre starting pitcher. But this year with the Rockies has been Marquis best performance since 2004.
The Case for Jason Marquis
A big reason why Jason Marquis has been so successful in Colorado this season is because of his incredible ground ball percentage. According to fangraphs, Marquis is third in all of baseball in ground ball percentage (55.2%). That stat alone tells you that Marquis can pitch effectively in a bandbox.
Good luck hitting a home run against Jason Marquis. Sure, he's no Joel Pineiro (.31 HR/9), but Marquis has been incredible at keeping the ball in the ballpark this season despite pitching in Colorado. Marquis .66 HR/9 ratio puts him in the top 20 in baseball this season, which is an impressive feat with or without the humidor.
Quality innings v. Quality innings? Who cares! In 5 of the past 6 seasons, Marquis has thrown at least 190 innings. Odds are high that when that fifth day rolls around, Marquis will be there to take the ball.
The Case against Jason Marquis
In the three seasons prior to this one, Marquis put up the following ERAs:
While I don't think Marquis is as bad as his 6.02 ERA in 2006 suggests, is he really as good as his 3.98 ERA in 2009 suggests? Or is this just a fluke season at the right time for Marquis?
For the first four months of the season, there weren't many pitchers in baseball that were more consistent than Jason Marquis. However, in the month of September, Marquis has been terrible. His September ERA currently sits at 6.28, which is odd considering his strikeout rate is actually up this month. Nevertheless, Marquis has come back down to Earth in a big way.
I would say that Marquis is a notch or two below Joel Pineiro at this point, but can he compete with Doug Davis, Randy Wolf, Jarrod Washburn, Rich Harden, Braden Looper, and Jon Garland? I think so. And in many respects, you can make the case that Marquis is better than most of those guys.
Elias Ranking: Type B
After making almost $10 million this season, it's hard to see the Rockies offering Marquis arbitration. It's easy to see why they'd like to keep Marquis, but I have a tough time believing that the Rockies can afford to spend $12-$14 million+ on a above average pitcher.
(3 years/$24 million)
I have to give Marquis the Adam Eaton kiss of death contract here: 3 years/$24 million. It's funny because those two pitchers have so much in common stylistically, but so little in common right now. A few months back, maybe Marquis is able to crack the $10+ million per year mark, but after his rough September, I think this amount is fair.
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