Posts Tagged ‘Jason Marquis’

Starting Rotation: National League East

January 21, 2010

Earlier in the week, I took a look at the starting rotations for each American League team. Now it’s time to switch gears and focus on the National League.

I will start in the National League East and go from there. The NL East is home to perhaps the two best pitchers in baseball in Roy Halladay and Johan Santana. Not only are there superstar pitchers in this division, there are also some great young arms like Josh Johnson and Tommy Hanson.

Here are the starting rotations for each National League East team as presently constructed.

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Roy Halladay, RHP

2. Cole Hamels, LHP

3. Joe Blanton, RHP

4. JA Happ, LHP

5. Jaime Moyer, LHP

Quick Take – The Phillies made the big move this offseason trading for Halladay. In doing such, they had to trade playoff hero Cliff Lee. While I have no doubt Halladay will be a Cy Young candidate in 2010, this rotation will only be as good as Hamels is. They really need him to bounce back this year.

Atlanta Braves

1. Derek Lowe, RHP

2. Jair Jurrjens, RHP

3. Tim Hudson, RHP

4. Tommy Hanson, RHP

5. Kenshin Kawakami, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation has so much depth, that the Braves were able to trade Javier Vazquez. I like this rotation because it’s a good mix of young (Jurrjens and Hanson) and old (Hudson and Lowe). If the Braves give him any run support, Jurrjens could be a Cy Young candidate in 2010.

New York Mets

1. Johan Santana, LHP

2. Mike Pelfrey, RHP

3. John Maine, RHP

4. Oliver Perez, LHP

5. John Niese, LHP

Quick Take – This rotation reminds me of those Boston Red Sox rotations back in the late-90’s. They had Pedro Martinez and a bunch of question marks. This is a big year for Pelfrey. Perez is reportedly got in the best shape of his life this offseason, so let’s see if that translates to his performance on the mound.

Florida Marlins

1. Josh Johnson, RHP

2. Ricky Nolasco, RHP

3. Anibal Sanchez, RHP

4. Sean West, LHP

5. Chris Volstad, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation is young, tall, and talented. Johnson leads this staff and is an early favorite to win the NL Cy Young award in 2010. At 6’8″, 240 lbs, West has a ton of potential. This staff also has top pitching prospect Andrew Miller waiting in the wings.

Washington Nationals

1. John Lannan, LHP

2. Jason Marquis, RHP

3. Scott Olsen, LHP

4. J.D. Martin, RHP

5. Craig Stammen, RHP

Quick Take – The addition of Marquis will help this staff, but overall, it’s still pretty weak. I really like Lannan. He is a good pitcher, who unfortunately plays on the worst team in baseball. Of course, all eyes will be on the development of Stephen Strasburg. There is a chance he could join this staff by the end of the year.

Tomorrow, I will take a look at the National League Central.

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Nationals Find A New Closer, Sign Matt Capps

December 24, 2009

Last week I wrote a post titled “Brian Bruney Strikes Fantasy Gold.” The reasoning behind the post was that with no other options in Washington, it looked like Bruney would become the Nationals’ closer in 2010.

Whoops!

That’s what the kids call these days as “Jumping the gun.” Bruney’s reign as closer in Washington lasted maybe two weeks.

According to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com, the Nationals have signed former Pittsburgh Pirates closer Matt Capps to a one-year, $3.5 million contract. Capps can earn another $425,000 based on the number of games finished.

Capps is the new closer in DC

So far this offseason, the Nationals have added a solid starter in Jason Marquis, an eighth inning set-up man in Bruney, and now their closer in Capps. I won’t mention the Ivan Rodriguez signing because that was a terrible move.

But overall, the Nationals have had a very active and productive offseason. The Capps signing was a good move for both clubs for a couple of reasons.

For Capps, he had offers from the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets, but chose the Nationals because they give him the best shot to be a closer and to re-establish his value for next offseason.

After having solid 2007 and 2008 seasons, Capps really fell off in 2009. Capps had a 5.80 ERA and registered the highest BB/9 rate of his career (2.8/9).

He also registered the highest K/9 of his career as well (7.6/9). Perhaps Capps just needs a change of scenery. The Nationals will give Capps that change of scenery in 2010.
For the Nationals, this is another move to help try to improve upon a disastrous bullpen in 2009. I don’t mind a rebuilding team signing veteran players as long as A. It doesn’t block a prospect from getting a shot and B. the contract doesn’t become an albatross in the future.
The Capps signing doesn’t do either.
Capps will not block Drew Storen’s development as the closer of the future and Capps only signed a one-year deal. No harm, no foul.
Plus, if Capps does have a bounce back year, the Nationals could always trade him for prospects in July or August. Contending teams always are looking for bullpen help down the stretch.
Capps will be 27-years-old next year and has a career 3.61 ERA in five seasons with the Pirates.
You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Marquis Jetting To The Washington Nationals

December 22, 2009

So I called my dad yesterday, as I do after every excruciating, but yet classic New York Jets’ loss–and Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons was as classic as it gets– just to make sure he was in good health.

He is still in good health, but I can’t repeat the conversation because I would like to keep this a PG site. After he got done with his Joe Benigno-esque rant, we had this conversation…

Me: Did you hear the Washington Nationals signed Jason Marquis?

Dad: No, I didn’t. Didn’t he want to play for the Mets?

Me: Yup.

Dad: So why didn’t the Mets sign him?

Me: I have no idea. I guess signing a Jewish kid from New York made too much sense.

Dad: Idiots.

I really have no idea why the Mets didn’t sign Marquis. He openly campaigned for the Mets to sign him and it’s not to often a player openly admits to wanting to play for the Mets. Players don’t knock on their door like they do the New York Yankees.

But the Mets loss is a division rivals gain. As I mentioned above, the Nationals signed Marquis and they signed him to a two-year, $15 million contract.

The Mets missed out on Marquis

I am kind of torn about whether or not I like this signing.

On one hand, I look at this signing and ask the question–why? What’s the point of a team that is probably going to win 70 games next year signing a guy to a $15 million contract?

This is very similar to the Adam Dunn signing last year. By the time the Nationals are contenders, Dunn and Marquis probably won’t be on the team.

On the other hand, I say what’s the harm in signing Marquis? It’s not like they signed him to a five-year, $60 million deal. A two-year contract will not affect the Nationals in the long-term.

The Nationals finished 15th in the National League in starter’s ERA (4.97) and 13th in starter’s innings pitched (901.1) in 2009. Marquis will help the Nationals in both areas in 2010.

Marquis finished with 216 innings pitched with the Colorado Rockies in 2009, which ranked eighth in the National League. He also had a 4.01 ERA, which was Marquis’ lowest since 2004 (3.71).

Perhaps most importantly for the Nationals, Marquis can serve as a mentor to the young Nationals’ pitching staff. Guys like John Lannan finally now have  someone they can learn from.

There is also one more side to this deal, which I don’t have a hand for. It’s called the business side of baseball.

The Nationals have now signed Jason Marquis and Ivan Rodriguez and traded for Brian Bruney. Two out of three of those players are name guys.

The Nationals finished 24th out of 30 teams in baseball in attendance in 2009. These moves are not only being made to improve the ball club on the field, but to improve ticket sales as well.

Afterall, Marquis has played 10 years in the majors and in all 10 years his teams have made the playoffs. So the Nationals will be going to the playoffs in 2010 right?

Well, maybe not.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Arbitration Roundup

December 2, 2009

For those of you who are not aware, yesterday at 11:59 pm est was the last day at teams could offer their free agents arbitration. Once a team offers arbitration to a player, that player has until Dec. 7 to accept.

A team would offer arbitration to a player–especially to a Type A or a Type B free agent because that team then would receive draft compensation as a result of that player signing with a new team.

A great example of this is what we saw this morning.

Since Billy Wagner signed with the Atlanta Braves and he was a Type A free agent who was offered arbitration, the Boston Red Sox will receive the Braves’ first-round pick (20th overall) and a supplemental pick in 2010.

Here is a list of the players who were offered arbitration by their current clubs. This list is courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors.

Type A Free Agents (10 players)

Chone Figgins

Figgins was offered arbitration by the Angels

John Lackey
Jose Valverde
Marco Scutaro
Mike Gonzalez
Rafael Soriano
Matt Holliday
Billy Wagner
Jason Bay
Rafael Betancourt

Type B Free Agents (13 players)

Justin Duchscherer
Rod Barajas
Joel Pineiro
Mark DeRosa
Adrian Beltre
Ivan Rodriguez
Marlon Byrd
Brian Shouse
Gregg Zaun
Jason Marquis
Brandon Lyon
Fernando Rodney
Carl Pavano

Yesterday was a good day for guys like Bengie Molina, Jermaine Dye, LaTroy Hawkins, and Kevin Gregg, who are all Type A free agents. Since these players were not offered arbitration and will not cost a first-round draft pick, they become much more attractive for teams to sign.

My predictions are that Molina ends up with the New York Mets and Dye ends up with the San Francisco Giants.

Yesterday was a bad day for a player like Rafael Betancourt. With him being a Type A free agent and offered arbitration by the Colorado Rockies, he is going to have a hard time finding work.

It’s hard to justify giving up a first-round pick for a middle reliever, who has been up and down for much of his career. My guess is he ends up back with the Rockies in 2010.

After Dec. 7, we will start to see the dominoes start to fall in the free agent market.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

It’s Rocktober Again: Colorado Rockies Clinch Playoff Berth

October 2, 2009

The National League playoff field is set.

With today’s 9-2 beatdown of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Colorado Rockies clinched their second playoff berth in three years. The St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, and now the Rockies will represent the National League in the 2009 postseason.

It’s been a crazy year for the Rockies. In the offseason, they traded arguably their best player in Matt Holliday and lost arguably their best pitcher in Jeff Francis to a shoulder injury.

Those losses, coupled with an 18-28 start to the season left many, including myself to believe that 2009 would be a lost season in Colorado. Ah, but baseball is a long season.

The Rockies fired manager Clint Hurdle, replaced him with Jim Tracy, and the Rockies haven’t looked back since. The hiring of Jim Tracy was just one of the reasons for the Rockies resurgence.

Here are some other reasons for the Rockies turnaround…

Tulowitzki is having a MVP season

Tulowitzki is having a MVP season

  • The return of “Tulo.” 2008 was just a miserable year for Troy Tulowitzki. But the heart and soul of the Rockies has responded with a MVP performance in 2009. Tulowitzki has put up a .299/31/90 hitting line with a .380 OBP and a .933 OPS. And of course, Tulowitzki has played his usual stellar defense at short.
  • The health of their starting rotation. Jorge De La Rosa, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jason Marquis, and Jason Hammel all made 30+ starts for the Rockies in 2009.  Aaron Cook was the only pitcher not to make 30 starts and he made 27. Impressive.
  • Huston Street. Street was a throw-in in the Matt Holliday trade and all Street has done is save 34 games in 2009. He has stabilized the bullpen for the Rockies.

The Rockies go into the 2009 postseason with as good of a chance to the represent the National League as anyone. I think they are the most complete team in the NL. If you can name we a weakness on this team — I would love to hear it.

While the Rockies have clinched the Wild Card, they could still win the division. The Rockies are two games behind the Dodgers and play the Dodgers for three games in LA.

If the Rockies sweep, then they are division champs and could possibly have the best record in the NL. Oh the humanity.

It’s been a great season for the Rockies. It’s shaping up to be Rocktober in Colorado yet again.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

The Colorado Rockies Are Winning From Within

August 27, 2009

I say this with a staunch and unblemished record of heterosexuality — I have a man-crush on the Colorado Rockies. That’s right, not just one player, but the entire team.

I usually reserve my man-crushes for individual players like Michael Young, Chase Utley, or back in the day George Brett. However, the Rockies are a different case. I love the way this team plays.

Tulo is a home grown Rockie

Tulo is a home grown Rockie

They play great defense, they can beat you with a big fly or small ball, they have a very high baseball IQ, and this team can pitch. They are a very fun team to watch on a night in and night out basis.

However, above everything I just mentioned, there is one thing that stands out to me when I watch this team. It’s the fact that the Rockies are winning with home grown talent.

Everywhere you look on the field, the Rockies have players that they drafted and groomed in their farm system. Look at the core of this team…

Chris Iannetta – Drafted in the 4th round of the 2004 draft

Todd Helton- Drafted in the 1st round of the 1995 draft

Clint Barmes – Drafted in the 10th round of the 2000 draft

Troy Tulowitzki- Drafted in the 1st round of the 2005 draft

Ian Stewart – Drafted in the 1st round of the 2003 draft

Seth Smith – Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2004 draft

Dexter Fowler – Drafted in the 14th round of the 2004 draft

Brad Hawpe – Drafted in the 11th round of the 2000 draft

Garrett Atkins – Drafted in the 5th round of the 2000 draft

Ryan Spilborghs – Drafted in the 7th round of the 2002 draft

Ubaldo Jimenez – Signed as an amateur free agent in 2001

Aaron Cook – Drafted in the 2nd round of the 1997 draft

Other key contributors such as Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, Jason Marquis, and Jason Hammel have been acquired via trades. Only Matt Herges, Josh Fogg, and Juan Rincon were signed to free agent contracts and their contacts were all minor league deals.

To break down the Rockies current 25-man roster, 52 percent are home grown talent (drafted, signed as an undrafted free agent, or signed as an amateur free agent and developed in the Rockies system), 36 percent came from trades, and just 12 percent came from minor league free agent contracts.

That 52 percent would be higher (64 percent) if Dexter Fowler and Aaron Cook weren’t currently on the DL. To have over 50 percent of your talent come from drafts and amateur free agent signings is amazing.

It just goes to show what a tremendous job Dan O’Dowd has done recently in reshifting his strategy of handing out large free agent contracts to reinvesting that money back into their minor league system, scouting, and the draft.

Back in the day, the Rockies tried to play with the big boys in the free agent signing game. Mike Hampton, the late Darryl Kile, Denny Neagle, Larry Walker, Darryl Hamilton and the legendary Tom Goodwin all signed free agent contracts to come to Colorado.

Those days are long gone. The Rockies have found their winning formula and the ingredients have come from within.

Getting Jewced; The Five Best Jewish Players In Baseball Today

June 15, 2009

Growing up as a Jewish, well half-Jewish (on my mother’s side, so I am legit) kid in New York, my dream of playing in the major leagues was just that – a dream. After all, not only was I not good enough, but being Jewish certainly limited my chances.

Sure we have had Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg, Al Rosen, Shawn Green and the legendary Morrie Arnovich (played with the Phillies, Reds and New York Giants in the late 30’s). But the reality is, if I wanted to be an accountant or work in the entertainment industry, I would be in like Flynn. A baseball player? Not so much.

Baseball is more of a world game now than ever before. Us fans of the Dreidel need our roles models and inspirations in baseball. If Italy can have a team in the World Baseball Classic, why can’t Israel?

That being said, here are the top five jewish players in the game of baseball today.

The "Jewish Hammer"

The "Jewish Hammer"

Honorable Mention: Craig Breslow, Scott Feldman, Gabe Kapler, Scott Schoeneweis and John Grabow.

5. Brad Ausmus: Ausmus is at the end of his career with the Dodgers, but in his prime he was one of the best defensive catchers in baseball with the Astros. Ausmus has won three Gold Gloves and was an All Star in 1999 as a member of the Detroit Tigers.

Ausmus was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 48th round of the 1987 Draft, and was the starting catcher for the Houston Atros team that made the World Series in 2005.

4. Jason Marquis: Heading into Sunday’s action, Marquis was tied for the National League lead in wins with eight. Marquis has his best season in 2004 with the St Louis Cardinals when he was 15-7 with a 3.71 ERA.

Marquis has spent 10 years in the major leagues and has an 87-74 lifetime record with the Atlanta Braves, St Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and currently, the Colorado Rockies.

3. Ian Kinsler: In only his forth year in the major leagues, Kinsler has established himself as not only one of the second baseman in baseball, but one of the best players in all of baseball.

The former University of Missouri star enjoyed a breakout 2008 season when he hit .319 with 18 HR’s, 71 RBI, 102 runs scored and 26 SB’s in just 121 games.

Kinsler earned a spot in the All Star game in 2008 and is expected to do the same in 2009.

2. Kevin Youkilis: If it were not for his teammate Dustin Pedroia, Youkilis might have won the American League MVP award last year. Youkilis, or “The Greek God of Walks” as he was referred to by A’s GM Billy Beane in the book “Moneyball,” is one of the best players in baseball.

Known for his intensity on the playing field, Youkilis was an All Star in 2008, won a Gold Glove in 2007 and is a lifetime .333 hitter in the postseason. Youkilis also helped the Red Sox to a World Series title in 2007.

1. Ryan Braun: If Braun continues on the pace he set for himself in his first three year in the majors, Braun will go down as one of the all-time greats in the game. Braun has averaged 35 HR’s, 100 RBI, 15 SB’s and a .305 batting average in his first 2 years in the majors.

Braun was named Rookie of the Year in 2007, won a Silver Slugger award and finished third in the MVP voting in 2008.

Braun also played for the U.S. in the World Baseball Classic.