Saturday, December 09, 2006

Cubs Sign Marquis

The Cubs signed another starting pitcher today when they inked 26-year old Jason Marquis to a 3 year/$20 million deal. Marquis pitched for the Cardinals last year where he went 14-16 with a 6.02 ERA in 2006. He has a career record of 56-52 with a 4.55 ERA.

Marquis was very inconsistent in 2006 and was ultimately excluded from the Cards post-season roster. Marquis discovered a flaw in his mechanics after the season and worked with a private coach to fix the problem. Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild visited with Marquis after the World Series and reported to Cubs officials that Marquis’ mechanical problems had in fact been discovered and fixed.

As I’ve stated previously, I don’t think Marquis is the answer to the Cubs pitching woes. In fact, in recent days I have come to the conclusion that the Cubs would be better off starting the season with Zambrano, Lilly, Hill, Marshall, and Prior/Miller, and then pick up a starting pitcher (maybe Willis?) at the trade deadline. Marquis’ signing makes that scenario very unlikely.

So how can I spin this in a positive way? Well, it isn’t all bad news. Marquis has shown signs of being effective. In 2004, he was 15-7 with a 3.71 ERA with the Cards. So if he really has found and corrected the problem with his mechanics, perhaps he can return to his 2004 performance. Also, Marquis is a workhorse. Over the past three years he has averaged over 200 innings pitched per season. So that's good news.

I’m not a fan of the signing, but I’m not suicidal over it either. I’ll keep an open mind and hope for the best, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “This just wasn’t a smart move.”


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