January 6, 2009 8:25 PM
More on Marquis
One way to look at the acquisition of Jason Marquis is through the prism of Kip Wells and Josh Fogg, recent fifth starters for the Rockies. Wells held that role for a while last year and Fogg in 2006 and 2007. Clearly, Marquis is an upgrade over those two, which is damning with faint praise.
General manager Dan O'Dowd, who flew to New York City on Monday to visit, Marquis, his wife and agents and have dinner with them said, "I think our environment will bring out the best in him. I think we'll have a very positive environment for him to perform in."
In conversations with a handful of scouts, they generally praised the acquisition of Marquis from the Cubs for reliever Luis Vizcaino. A National League scout said of Marquis, "There's no pitch that's overwhelming. He's what a typical good fourth-fifth starter is nowadays, a guy that can give you 180-plus innings and keep you in games five or six innings until you can get to your specialty guys in the pen."
This scout praised Marquis for being a tough competitor but offered a slight disclaimer. "He's a little flat in the strike zone and up in the strike zone, which for (Coors Field) doesn't bode well."
Indeed, Marquis gave up 90 homers in his three seasons with the Cardinals. He spent the past two years with the Cubs and allowed 37 homers, including 15 last year. "He'll do a good job," this scout said. "He'll eat up innings."
An American League scout said when Marquis' name was brought up at the winter meetings, he wasn't high enough on that club's list of pitchers who might be acquired to generate interest.
"He's a veteran guy, and he's been there done that," the scout said. "And you know how that is. On a certain day, he's very good. And on another day, he can't get the ball over the plate consistently enough. Both leagues are full of those guys."
Another AL scout who covers the NL said Marquis' stuff is "average across the board" but said the trade was a good move for the Rockies. "Vizcaino is a middle reliever, and this guy's a legitimate starter," the scout said. He added that his club discussed Vizcaino, and he the scout told his general manager, "I thought he was a ninth or 10th pitcher on a staff, and that's if he's healthy."
This scout said Marquis throws an 88-92 mph sinker with "a tick above average life" and an 82-87 mph cut fastball that is his best secondary pitch. The scout said Marquis once threw an outstanding curveball, which the Braves took away from him and is curveball and changeup are now just average and pointed out that Marquis' command can be very erratic.
The scout said, "In my report (this year), I added that it looks like he's trying to be more of a sinker-cutter guy than in years past where he was obstinate and tried to everything past hitters, tried to make a great pitch."
Finally, another NL scout, who saw Marquis pitch three times last season and likes him, said Marquis seems to have trouble making adjustments and is mistake-prone.
"He's got a pretty crisp curveball, but he doesn't use it," the scout said. "Seems like the second time around in the order, he can't make adjustments. I think this guy has got good stuff, but is he ever going to discover it? He's got good sinking and cutting action but is inconsistent with his location. When he's off, he's off. He'll leave a lot of pitches down the middle."