It’s easy to look at Marquis’s 6.02 ERA and question why any team would give him a million or three to pitch next year. However, it should be noted that Tony La Russa left Marquis in to save the bullpen on two occasions – June 21 against the White Sox (13 ER in 5 IP) and July 18th against the Braves (12 ER in 5 IP). Let’s take those two starts out, for the sake of argument.
With two slaughter starts included: 6.02 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 10.2 H/9, 4.5 K/9, 1.6 HR/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.28 K/BB
With two slaughter starts removed: 5.13 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 9.4 H/9, 4.4 K/9, 1.4 HR/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.24 K/BB
Alright, that experiment still shows that Marquis had an awful year. But at least it was somewhat less awful than it looked. Think Steve Trachsel/Jamey Wright territory, with Miguel Batista upside.
We can see that compared 2005, Marquis’s HR prevention and control worsened a bit (although not terribly so). The biggest difference was a groundball percentage that dropped from 52% to 43%. He needs to get the sink back – Cesar Izturis can do the rest.
Marquis isn’t a great pitcher. His strikeout rate is dangerously low. But he could be good for 200 innings and a 4.50 ERA – I think there’s at least a 50% chance of that. 4.49 was the National League average ERA in 2006. It’s a gamble that’s worth the $3MM he’ll probably want.