Jack Of All Trades: Jason Marquis

To paraphrase the prominent philosopher Chico Escuela, "Jason Marquis been berry, berry good to MLB Trade Rumors."

Marquis has played for seven teams, and been rumored to go to countless others. Marquis and the New York Mets have been linked often enough in rumors that it was newsworthy this week, after the Minnesota Twins released him, that the Mets weren't pursuing the Staten Island native.

But the well-traveled Marquis has been traded several times. Let's take a closer look at what actually has transpired for this Atlanta Braves' first round pick back in 1996.

Marquis had established himself in Atlanta as a swingman, but an ineffective 2002 season prompted the Braves to shuttle him between the big club and Triple-A. Still Marquis was young, cost-controlled and his track record included some successes. Accordingly, Marquis became the centerpiece of a December 2003 trade with the Cardinals. St. Louis also received reliever Ray King and pitching prospect Adam Wainwright from Atlanta, giving up catcher Eli Marrero and outfielder J.D. Drew.

That deal was quite a coup for the Cardinals, with most pointing to the success enjoyed by Wainwright, who became a shutdown reliever in 2006, and an elite starter a season later. But Marquis also gave the Cardinals plenty of production. Over three seasons in St. Louis, he averaged better than 200 innings per season, and pitched to a better than league average ERA+ in his first two years. He even won a Silver Slugger award in 2005, hitting .310/.326/.460 for a manager, Tony La Russa, who was happy to bat him eighth.

But Marquis struggled mightily for the 2006 Cardinals. His ERA ballooned to 6.02, and he didn't pitch in the postseason for the eventual world champion Cardinals. St. Louis let him sign with their bitter rivals, the Chicago Cubs, where Marquis resumed his work as a marginally effective innings eater. Then in January 2009, the Cubs dealt Marquis to the Colorado Rockies for reliever Luis Vizcaino, who was on the cusp of breaking down after years of quality pitching.

Marquis, however, was far from finished. He made the All Star team for the Rockies, pitching to a career-best ERA+ of 116 over 216 innings. It was a good time for Marquis to be out of contract, and thus he signed a two-year, $15MM deal with the Washington Nationals. Alas, he promptly broke down himself, pitching to a 6.60 ERA over 58 2/3 innings in 2010 while missing much of the year with elbow problems.

Again, however, Marquis resurrected his career, pitching to a 3.95 ERA for the 2011 Nationals. Arizona needed pitching help, so the Diamondbacks traded minor league infielder Zachary Walters for Marquis at the non-waiver trade deadline. Marquis, three starts in, broke his fibula, costing him the rest of the season. Still, Minnesota decided to give him a $3MM contract to see what he had left in 2012. Earlier this week, the Twins decided it wasn't much.

Now 33, Marquis could be at the end of the line. But he's cheated baseball death before. It wouldn't be shocking to see him not only recover and pitch well, but even get traded once again. Jason Marquis is, after all, the gift that keeps on giving… to MLB Trade Rumors.


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