Mariners Interested in Jason Marquis?

Though the most exciting 3.5 days of the off season are over, the rumors will of course, continue to fly through the off season – and the latest one on the Mariners front, from Fox sports, is that the M’s are interested in RHP Jason Marquis.

Seattle adds Marquis to wish list — 3:45 p.m.

The Mariners bid for right-hander Rich Harden. They’re in the mix for righty John Lackey. They’re looking at righty Ben Sheets and lefties Doug Davis and Jarrod Washburn — virtually every free-agent starter, it seems.”

Marquis is an interesting thought for the Mariners – one that might be worth exploring. He probably isn’t the bona fide #2 that we desperately need, but for the right price, he’d probably do a better job if slotted in behind Felix than any of our other options. So, is he worth seriously pursuing?

A brief look at Marquis’s 2009 numbers in Colorado:

tRA: 5.00

xFIP: 4.41

FIP: 4.10

They’re by no mean excellent numbers, but each and every one of them is above average. He’s also an extreme ground ball pitcher, which is probably why he was able to put up solid numbers despite pitching at Coors Field. And even though, because of his tendency to induce grounders, he probably wouldn’t benefit much from pitching at Safeco, he would instead benefit from our outstanding infield defense.

One thing I’m unable to explain is his sudden jump from mediocre to above average at the beginning of 2009. The one really big change in his stuff was that his cutter went from being roughly average in 2008, to 7.8 runs above average in 2009. There really wasn’t anything else that changed significantly between the two seasons. This leads me to believe that there may be a real possibility, that he just got better. I mean, as sabermetric loving people we’re inclined to check for abnormally high strand rates, low BABIP’s, etc., but in this case, I don’t think it’s all that far fetched that he was just able to improve. I mean, he’s barely 31.

So, whether or not he’s worth seriously pursuing – I’m gonna go with yes, at the right price. Something in the range of 2 years/$15 million seems like it would be pretty reasonable. And in reality, it’s not much of a risk – even if he reverts to 2008 Jason Marquis, that’s still nearly a 2 win pitcher. In that case, we wouldn’t exactly be getting a bargain, but it’d still be tough to say we were overpaying.

However, and this is a serious possibility, if Marquis is going to want a contract more like the on Randy Wolf got (3 years, $29.75M), then that changes everything. If we can’t get him for a maximum of around $7-8 million a year, in a 1 or 2 year deal, we’d probably be better suited going after Ben Sheets, or just abandoning the FA route and going after pitching via trade.

Other news:

Today was the first time I’ve seen the Mariners actually being linked to Ben Sheets, so that’s awesome.

Jose Arredondo is going to miss the entire 2010 season, as he’ll be undergoing Tommy John surgery in January. That’s also good news, as it’s going to make the Angels bullpen even worse than it already is.

Topics: Ben Sheets, Felix Hernandez, Jason Marquis, Jose Arredondo, Mariners

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  • Mike

    Guys like Marquis, Pineiro, and maybe even Garland are going to seek similar deals as to what Randy Wolf signed (3/30). For that reason, there’s no chance I’d be interested in these guys. I cant believe I’m saying this, but keep in mind that Doug Davis and Jarrod Washburn are probably 2 win players for the M’s at a much more reasonable cost(one year deal $4-6 million). I dont like the idea of either but the difference between them and a guy like Marquis may not be very substantial (especially considering the cost). If the M’s are going to dish out $10 million/year for a guy like Marquis, I’d much rather just pay Lackey the extra $5 million or so, all things considered.

  • http://www.sodomojo.com Harrison

    The problem with paying Lackey his money if it was that simple that Mariners would have already done it. It’s not just about giving him 15 million a year or even 20. It’s the length of the contract. It’s why Branyan hasn’t signed anywhere just yet. It’s not just about money it’s about the length.

  • Chad

    The offer that the Cards have supposedly given to Holliday is 8/96 which would be 12 million a year. If that is the case, then the Mariners should seriously be interested.

  • http://sodomojo.com Griffin Cooper

    Mike – what I said was that he would be a 2 win pitcher if he reverted back to 2008 form. There’s a fairly strong possibility that he’ll at least be between his 1.8 WAR mark in 2008 and his 3.8 WAR mark in 2009. I would count on him being more than a 2 WAR pitcher in 2010, especially if he has the Mariners defense, and Safeco field behind him.

    In my eyes, there’s no denying that Marquis is a better pitcher, and a more valuable one, than Jarrod Washburn or Doug Davis. However, if he is demanding $10+ million a year, that changes things a lot. And he very well could be trying to get that type of a contract – but if he’s not, and he’d settle for something in the $7-8 million a year range, for no more than 3 years, I think it’s worth seriously looking at.

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  • Mike

    Sorry Griffin I didn’t mean to imply you were saying Marquis is a 2 win pitcher. I understand what your point was because I have him projected as a 2.5- 3 win pitcher myself.

    I too have no doubt that Marquis is a better pitcher than Washburn or Davis. That said, I think that difference might be slightly overstated. In my opinion, as you mentioned, Marquis is only worth considering on a 2/14 or 3/21 contract. Anything over that and I think your overpaying.

    Harrison – I should have clarified when I mentioned paying Lackey his money, that the length of the contract should be no longer than 4 years. I’d prefer to sign him for 3 but I understand that’s unrealistic, as it will probably even take 5 years to get the deal done. Also, just to clarify, there’s no way I’d personally go above $15 million/year for him. It just gets too risky in my opinion.

    On another note, how much easier would this be if the M’s just would have signed Rich Harden?!

  • http://www.sodomojo.com Harrison

    I actually believe it would be smarter to give a 2 yr contract to Ben Sheets than 4 yrs to Lackey. My personal opnion.