The Washington Nationals are the winners of the Jason Marquis derby. His contract is for 2-years, $15 million. Marquis is coming off a career year in which he was worth 3.8 WAR. He started the season strong but struggled down the stretch, pitching himself off of Colorado’s playoff roster. His previous two seasons with the Cubs he was good for 3.5 WAR combined.
Marquis’ success is predicated on keeping the ball on the ground and in the park, two things he excelled at last year. His groundball rate of 56% was a career high and he allowed just .63 HR/9 in Colorado, of all places. The increase of groundballs is encouraging, but his 1.44 K/BB ratio means he’s dancing on the edge of a knife.
All in all, Jason Marquis is the walking definition of a league-average innings-muncher. I don’t mean that as a knock, that certainly has value. CHONE projects Marquis to be 1.8 wins above replacement in 2009. At $7.5 million per, the dollars aren’t too bad. To this point the market is paying about $3.8 million per win; Marquis is coming at around $4-4.3 per win for the Nats. He’s certainly an upgrade over household names such as J.D. Martin or Craig Stammen.
But here’s the rub. What exactly is the point of spending $4 million for a win when you’re the Nationals? The team currently has maybe seventy-something win talent and they’re well on their way to becoming basement dwellers in the NL East yet again. Signing an innings-eater such as Marquis to a contract like this makes zero sense; all he does is makes the Nationals slightly less bad than they were a year ago.
I’m also enjoying the irony that Stephen Strasburg is getting paid $15 million from the Nationals for four years, while Marquis is getting the same for two. Those wacky draft picks are just so overpaid, right Rob Dibble?
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