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.

Tags: Ben Sheets Felix Hernandez Jason Marquis Jose Arredondo Mariners

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