This is Jason Marquis. Like it or lump it, he put together a more than respectable career. Eight different teams called upon Jason Marquis to make nearly 300 starts in his Major League career. His best days are behind him but Jason Marquis can look back with pride at a long life at the Major League level.
Sure, he was only worth 12 Wins Above Replacement on Fangraphs (4.4 WAR on Baseball Reference) but dammit he provides a service! Perhaps his the second-highest FIP and lowest WAR of any pitcher to make 200 starts in the last decade is unsightly but, hey, guys like Marquis keep getting jobs for a reason (one assumes.)
The totality of Jason Marquis’s 13-year career took place in the National League until he debuted with the Minnesota Twins this April. It was at this time that Jason Marquis posted the very worst numbers of his career, such an ugly line that he was jettisoned from the Twins —the Twins!— after just seven starts. Career over, right? Not so fast…
Jason Marquis was given a reprieve by the benevolent gods of Petco Park. Another chance at life in the pitcher’s haven that is the NL West. And how did Jason Marquis respond? Amazingly, actually.
10 strikeouts in a game from Jason Marquis? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?! Man, that National League is such a joke, I swear any old corpse could post big numbers there.
Except for, you know, Jason Marquis has pitched three times for the Padres. Two of those games came against American League opponents with his impressive 10K outing (the second highest strikeout game of Marquis’ long career!) coming against the sputtering juggernaut that is the Texas Rangers.
Today’s Getting Blanked Show tackled the AL/NL split in our “Narrative versus the Numbers” bit and there is little evidence to suggest anything other than complete American League dominance over recent years. That’s the macro view.
But an individual case like Marquis’ doesn’t prove anything. A proven Major League player, even a fringe talent like this veteran innings-eater, can string a couple good outings together at any time. He might make a few mechanical adjustments, pitch in friendly environment and, perhaps most importantly of all, get his head in the right place to perform. From the San Diego Union-Transfer:
“I’ve been working hard to get it back,” said Marquis, who began this season with the Minnesota Twins and struggled while dealing with a family health issue. “I’m not so excited about losing. I pitch to win.”
“He was magnificent,” said third baseman Chase Headley. “I just wish we could have gotten him another run or two.”
Very few Jason Marquis outings can be described as “magnificent” but that is how the Padres’ Headley described the outing. (odd considering Headley himself is known as “Chase the Magnificent” in Dirk Hayhurst’s The Bullpen Gospels) The family health issues refers a bicycle crash involving his daughter in March. That, in addition to lingering problems from a broken leg suffered last season, surely weighs on the mind of any man.
Jason Marquis is not as good a pitcher has his brief Padres cameo suggests. His tiny-sampled 2.90 FIP is nearly two full runs below his career rate, I am loathe to tell you. But he pitched well last night and not bad the other two times he suited up for the Friars.
As much fun as it is to make Jason Marquis the avatar for the talent difference between the AL and the NL, he isn’t. There is more compelling evidence than three starts by a 13-year MLB veteran if you want to belabour that point.