Monday, December 21, 2009

MASN: The Marquis de Suck Coming to DC

Heh. I love that line. Hat tip to GROTA.

But don't read too much into the headline though. Depending on the terms, Marquis is one of the guys the Nationals needed to bring in to provide some stability in the rotation.

Personally, I would have shied away from Marquis because he's coming off a career year, and you tend to get bitten badly when you sign free agents coming off career years.

My "veteran stabilizer" target list included led with Carl Pavano, Jon Garland, Braden Looper, Joel Piniero, and Jarrod Washburn, but Marquis fits in fine with those guys--few Ks, but few walks, and plenty of groundballs. Assuming, again, that they aren't going crazy on the contract, especially the years, this fits with my hopes for the off-season.

I'll post more on Marquis when this is official.
  • Update: Fox says it's two years. If true, that's good. I would have thought Marquis would get offered more than that from someone. Fox and MASN are both saying it's not really final yet, so brace yourself for the possibility that this is a negotiating ploy by Marquis's agent.
  • Update: Buster Olney says two years and $15 million. That's not overpaying. I'm really pretty shocked Marquis went for it. I'm pleased.


Sean Hogan said...

2 years at $15 mil total is being reported on by MLB Trade Rumors via a Yankees beat writer. Nice signing IMO.

Todd Boss said...

113+ adjusted ERA for last season despite a 2nd half swoon. Reasonable money. A work horse who has missed 4 starts in 6 years.

Works for me.

Btw, adjusted ERA+s for the top 6 starters for Nats in 2009 (by games started): 108, 82, 91, 95, 80 and 75. So Marquis should be a marked improvement.

Seattle Steve said...

Some have complained that the Nats could have waited and gotten a pitcher with similar talent for less...but I don't think the Nats overpaid, and they really need someone to just eat innings without getting killed. This is like the Pudge deal...not outrageously expensive, low risk, low reward. What's sad is that "low reward" is still an improvement for this team for some positions.

Will said...

Forget his distinctly average pitching statistics, this guy's gonna bring some needed pop to the Nats #9 spot. He's a career .202 hitter, a substantial upgrade over the rest of the Nats pitchers. Welcome to Washington, Jason!

Souldrummer said...

I'm all for this move at the price and the years. This is a not so flashy move that shows a functional front office is in place. Just don't bill him as a "front line starter" NJ.

Lannan, Marquis, Stammen, Detweiler, and another FA for the rotation right now?

Will said...

All sarcasm aside, I just posted this over on the FanGraphs article:

Sure, in a purely sabremetrically-minded world, this doesn’t make sense. Marquis won’t make the Nats remarkably better, and they will still stink. However, the Nats have now lost 100+ games in two straight seasons, and have a new, dispassionate and dwindling fanbase. They cannot afford another 100 loss season.

Even if Marquis only posts a 2 WAR season, and eats up another 200+ innings, that’s a HUUUUUGE improvement. Last year, the Nats gave 31 starts to Daniel Cabrera, JD Martin, Collin Balester and Marco Estrada. They combined for a total of 13.1 runs BELOW replacement! In those 31 starts, they only pitched 149 innings, averaging just over 4.2 IP/start. Those extra 50+ IP went to the Nats’ equally abysmal relief pitchers, such as Logan Kensing, Mike Hinckley, Victor Garate and Jorge Sosa, who in 62 IP, combined to be another 15.6 runs BELOW replacement (this is unbelievable)! Add it all up, and the 200+ innings of slightly above replacement level pitching Marquis will bring to the Nats will be enormously useful. Marquis is basically replacing a pitcher who was 28.7 runs below replacement level. That’s a 5 win improvement!

Add another SP like Jon Garland to replace other ~200 innings given to below replacement level pitchers like Shairon Martis, Ron Villone, Saul Rivera and Mike MacDougal, and you’ll see similar results.

Just by adding two unremarkable, durable SPs and a little better luck to their pythag (which was 7 wins below the expected result), you’re looking at a team that would be about 17 games better. And suddenly you have a 76-86 team!

I don’t know about you, non-Nats fans, but I’d be much more excited by the prospect and more willing to spend money on a ~.470 team than a .364 team.

This is assuming Marquis is only a 2 WAR pitcher. This also doesn't factor in the potential improvements from Strasburg, Pudge instead of Wil Nieves, as well as the defensive improvement of not putting Adam Dunn in the outfield, as well as Morgan in CF and Guzman at 2B.

I guess it's that time of the year again, where I become irrationally optimistic about my expectations for the Nats. However, it's not impossible to project them to be a .500 team.

Steven said...

I think if the season started tomorrow, 1-4 would be Lannan, Marquis, Mock, and Stammen. Olsen will pitch if he can or if not Detwiler, unless his command collapses, and then we'd see Martin.

But I agree with you I think there's at least another signing in the mix. Then I think you have to put the Mock/Detwiler/Stammen/Martin group on the trade market. Those guys have nothing more to prove in AAA, and there's a whole additional generation of Aaron Thompson type guys who will be looking for auditions also.

James Bjork said...

I like this signing too. Marquis is only a Type B free agent, so it's not like this is killing the Nats' farm system. I have always believed that from the fan base morale angle, that the urgency for the Nats in particular to put a respectable major-league product on the field was getting dire.

I agree that under normal circumstances, even for a sub-500 team, the addition of this skill set and projected accomplishment would be ho-hum, For the Nats, however, it's huge.

+1 on not hyping Marquis as a top-of-the-rotation starter. He's front-line in Washington by default.

I would LOVE a 76-win season after what we've seen since 2007.

Anonymous said...

I like the signing, given the reported term and $$, and mostly agree with the comments, including looking to trade one of the AAAA 4. Would Martin + a low level prospect get DeJesus from the Royals in a salary dump?

But I don't want to see the nats add to this with davis or Garland, basically similar pitchers. They should continue to use $$ as the main incentive but try to get someone better on the trade market. I would love to see them get vasquez, even if it means losing the Hammer. Only 1 year committed, but with his puerto Rican home tying him to the east coast, they ought to be well placed to extend him if they want. Alternatively, and this may be crazy, I would consider Lowe IF Atl throws in $10m, and we could find a way to build a deal around Guzzy + a marginal prospect or two. In other words, I would push to see how desperate they are to dump salary. If they want real baseball value in return, I would pass.