Paul Sulivan at the Chicago Tribune
(as well as other media) are reporting that the Cubs have signed free-agent RHP Jason Marquis
to a three year deal worth $28M
The 28-year old Marquis was ranked as an MLB Type "B" free-agent, so the Cubs weren't going to lose a draft pick by signing him anyway, but because the Cardinals did not offer arbitration to him by the December 1st deadline, they will not be receiving a Supplemental ("sandwich") draft pick between the 1st & 2nd round of next June's First-Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft) as compensation for losing him. (If the Cubs had signed Type "A" FA Jeff Suppan
instead of Marquis, the Cubs would have lost a 3rd round draft pick to the Cardinals--Alfonso Soriano
cost the Cubs their 2nd Round pick--and the Cards would have also received a Supplemental 1st rounder).
Marquis was a 1st Round (supplemental) pick of the Atlanta Braves in the 1996 Rule 4 Draft (June Draft), and quickly became the Braves #1 pitching prospect. He was used as both a starter and reliever with the Braves 2001-2003, before getting traded along with RHP Adam Wainwright
and LHP Ray King
to St. Louis in December 2003, a deal where the Cardinals sent OF J. D. Drew
and C-OF Eli Marrero
to Atlanta. Marquis had his two best seasons while pitching for the Cardinals in 2004 and 2005, when he went 15-7 with a 3.72 ERA ('04) and 13-14 with a 4.13 ERA ('05) as a rotation starter.
Marquis went 14-16 with a 6.02 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 2006, and was considered so unreliable at the end of the regular season that he was left off the Cardinals post-season playoff roster. In his best years, Marquis was--like Brandon Webb
, Jake Westbrook
, and Derek Lowe
--an extreme ground ball pitcher. However, last season he got his pitches up and got clobbered, actually getting increasingly worse as the season wore on (he was 11-6 5.55 at the All-Star break, and 3-10 6.91 after the break).
If you throw out his six-plus ERA, Marquis' 2006 G/F ratio and WHIP closely match MLB starting pitchers like Josh Fogg
or Rodrigo Lopez
, so if he can't rediscover his ground ball magic, that's the type of pitcher you can expect Marquis to be for the Cubs in 2007. But if he can relocate his sinker, then he could be a lot better than that.
I'd like to think the Cubs know something the Cardinals don't know, but if Redbirds pitching coach Dave Duncan couldn't fix whatever ailed Marquis last season, is it realistic to expect Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild will be able to turn the trick in 2007?
CUBS PROJECTED 2007 STARTING ROTATION
1. Carlos Zambrano
2. Ted Lilly
3. Rich Hill
4. Jason Marquis
5-A. Mark Prior
5-B. Wade Miller
5-C. Neal Cotts
5-D. Sean Marshall
, Angel Guzman
, Juan Mateo
, or Jae-kuk Ryu
UPDATE from Rob G.
The Trib has changed its tune again on the money
and puts it at a far more reasonable 3/21 now. Bruce Miles of The Daily Herald also pegs the contract
in that vicinity as well.