Monday, May 16, 2011

Marquis is on the Trading Block

(Photo Courtesy - Nationals Daily News)

We've explored the Jason Marquis trade thing a couple times this season. Further, some other websites have explored the possibility of Marquis trade, even recently. So that must mean something, right? It seems that when the Nats are in the news it's for one of two reasons: spectacular young prospects (see: Strasburg, Stephen; Harper, Bryce) or because of a talented veteran heading to another team (see: Dunn, Adam; Marquis, Jason). Nats news is certainly not going to be because of their 30th-ranked offense in baseball.

There is no doubt that Marquis is currently in the process of one of the best years of his career. Marquis has started the season 5-1 with an impressive 3.54 ERA. Not to mention (also, not that it matters as far as a trade goes), his bat and base running skills have actually helped the Nats in numerous occasions. His 5-1 record is even more impressive because he was able to get those wins pitching for a Nationals team that seems incapable of scoring any runs except for this past Sunday against the Fish.

His outstanding season so far surely makes him one of the leading candidates for the Nationals to move at the July 31st trade deadline. Marquis' 2 year/$15 million contract expires at the end of the season, and it's hard to see the Nats paying similar money to extend the deal beyond this year. Strasburg should be back to start 2012, and Nats GM Mike Rizzo wants to get out in the free agent market and land a big name young starter to add to his rotation to join Strasburg, Zimmermann, and Lannan. In addition, according to, if the Nats trade Marquis, they'll save $2.5 million this season. That's incentive the Lerners can really understand.

Where does that leave the Nats? The same place they've been every year since 2006: a non-contender by the season's half way mark. There's always a possibility that the Nats can surge before July and put themselves back in the discussion. But realistically, there's essentially no chance that the Nationals can overcome the competition in their own division to even compete for the Wild Card, let alone for the division title. That makes Marquis quickly and easily expendable for just-above-average prospects from a contending team.

This is a continued ritual that has become frustrating for Nats fans, year in and year out. Players that have had break out years are getting moved to other contenders just because it makes no sense to keep them. Last year it was Matt Capps. This year, my money says it's Jason Marquis.


  1. "This is a continued ritual that has become frustrating for Nats fans, year in and year out."

    Actually, we have whiffed on that more times than we've connected. Soriano (2006), Chad Cordero (2007), Belliard (2007), Dmitri Young (2007), Guzman (2008) and Adam Dunn last year were all guys who should have been unloaded at the trading deadline who weren't. You can argue that the Soriano non-trade brought us the draft pick used to get Jordan Zimmermann, but most of those other non-trades were HUGE mistakes and the jury is still out on the Dunn non-trade until we see what his compensation picks net us in the draft.

  2. National League teams should particularly pay attention to Marquis -- he can hit!

  3. You said "just above average prospects" for Jason Marquis. I am thinking they could obtain a similiar prospect as they received last year for Matt Capps. Ramos, a "blue chip" prospect. If Jason continues to pitch as he has to this point, hopefully the Nats can obtain a top 5 prospect in return.

  4. I have to point out, Marquis is a multiple-time All-Star and is only 31. By contrast, Roy Halladay is 34, and he's at the top of his game. Marquis is essentially a younger, better version of Livan Hernandez. Not a bad guy to have at the bottom of a rotation led by Stras/Zimm for a few years.

    Bottom line: If someone offers a prospect like Ramos, sure, go ahead and trade Marquis. But if all that's offered is peanuts (like with the Guzman trade), giving him a few mil for 2 or 3 years is not a bad scenario.

  5. If you have a Type A Free Agent you are holding the upper hand. If Rizzo can't find a stud with his comp picks for Dunn in this deep Draft then that will be a loss.

    Marquis has limited trade value on July 31st as he has arm fatigue set in each year around his 20th start. His winning percentage from April to June is now .608 (59-38). His win percentage after July 31 to the end of the season Sept/Oct right at .400 (28-42)

    Up until Marquis tenure with the Nats, he had been a guy to help playoff bound teams and the last postseason game he has started was 2004 and since then he either was left off the postseason roster or used as a sparingly as a reliever.

    The GMs know this and unless they got him right now, the value at July 31 is probably low level prospect(s).

    Unless something drastically has changed with Marquis physically to dis-spell his past late season swoon, why would anyone give up top prosects for him on July 31st? I say re-sign him as he is a great early season pitcher who can help this team as overall for a full season he is still over .500 for his winning percentage and clearly is a guy who helps the team win in more ways than just his pitching.

  6. @bdrube - I'm with you here. I'm not convinced it's the WRONG thing to do, it's just a frustrating ritual. Hard to get attached to players when any quasi-star that comes around inevitably disappears. Also, in some ways it's the suspense that kills more than the actual moves.

    @Tedv15 - You may be right. I forgot that Capps was also in a contract year. Not sure we could pull of a Ramos again though, that was 100% win.

    @Nick - Absolutely. Marquis has the potential to continue to be a great pitcher for the coming years. At some point you have to stop looking to future prospects and start looking to good veterans now.

    @ Steve - Thanks for your thoughts. Good splits.

  7. At best Marquis can be a Type B Free Agent based on a 2 year moving average so either you trade him in June to KC, NYY, CLEVE, or TAMPA for prospects or his trade value falls quickly as SteveM pointed out as you approach July 31.

    The other strategy would be to extend him now so you can get a good 2011 + 2012 and get him to a Type A Free Agent for after the 2012 season.

  8. Rizzo as a wheeler dealer on trades hasn't impressed me other than the Capps/Ramos deal. The Willingham, Nyjer, and Alberto Gonzalez deals all look suspect at this point, and his trade proposal for Greinke of Jordan Zimmermann, Drew Storen and Danny Espinosa was just nuts and lucky Greinke vetoed the deal.

    Mark'd brings up an interesting idea. If you extend Marquis's contract and get a robust 2012, you can turn him into a Type A Free Agent based on that 2 year Elias average and your value in Marquis goes way up plus you keep him to help this team next year since you probably won't re-sign Livan Hernandez.

    Your 2012 rotation could look like:

    1) Strasburg
    2) JZim
    3) Marquis
    4) Gorzelanny
    5) Lannan/Maya/Free Agent

    The one to trade I think is John Lannan to a team that covets a LH starting pitcher. He also would have 2 more years under team control.

  9. Why is this situation "frustrating" for Nats fans? To me its a great opportunity. Marquis is NOT part of the long term plans for this team. He's not going to get a 3-4 year deal from us, not being on the downside of 30 and paying him based on his performance in his contract walk year.

    You ABSOLUTELY flip him and look for a Capps-Ramos deal.

  10. If anyone would take Marquis now, the Nats should take what they can get. His walk rate and HR rate so far this season are unsustainable, and even his K rate is a bit high by his standards. We know what Marquis is at this point in his career, and that's an average (at best) back-end starter. There is value in and a market for that kind of player but considering he's at an age where a lot of players start declining, getting top prospects in exchange isn't likely.

  11. Todd, you are dreaming to think there is a "Ramos" type of deal out there. I bet you don't get anyone off of Baseball America's team Top 10 for him if you wait till July 31st.

    You are most likely looking at a Corey Brown type of player who was previously a top prospect and fell off of the team's depth chart.

    I am with Mark'd on this. Great strategy. Extend him for 1 year to maximize his value while at the same time helping the 2012 rotation.

  12. i think there would be value in having him be the first solid starter available in the trade market, and just pounce on the first desperate team. i dont think his value will be any higher. roll him in the next month for the best you can get, or extend him and hope for the best. just curious what players do you see on the block going from here...i would guess a healthy ankiel, todd coffey, doug slaten, lannan, hairston, and stairs

  13. Nattylite, I only see value in Lannan and Coffey and maybe Ankiel. Amazing stat I just read is Coffey hasn't allowed any Inherited Runners to score.

    I want to see Marquis stay another season as I like Mark's suggestion to optimize his value.