Mets Merized Online » Jason Marquis Thu, 24 Apr 2014 22:00:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mejia Has Bone Spur Removed, Looking Ahead To 2014 Rotation Wed, 28 Aug 2013 20:30:50 +0000 mejia

Good news…

The Mets announced that Jenrry Mejia had successful surgery to remove the bone spur that was wreaking havoc on his right elbow.

Everything went well, and Jenrry will have plenty of time to get ready for next Spring.

I didn’t want to write an entire post on this so I thought I’d add a quick update to Sagar’s post based on it’s relevancy….

Original Post 11:00 AM

With the Dark Knight down and out, the 2014 New York Mets have another huge hole to add to their list. Pitching is clearly a strength of the team, but it takes a huge hit when the ace could be out for the entire season. So who will be competing for spots in the rotation this coming spring?

Barring any additional injuries, you can pencil Dillon Gee, Jon Niese, and Zack Wheeler into the rotation. The righthanded Gee started off terribly, but has become a consistent pitcher that the Mets can rely on every fifth day. Niese has had a frustrating season, mostly due to a partially torn rotator cuff, but hopefully last night’s shutout is a sign of more things to come from the 26-year old southpaw. Wheeler has had a strong second half and will look to make the jump that Matt Harvey made in his second big league season.

You would have to think that Jenrry Mejia has an inside track to the 4th spot in the rotation, but it of course depends on his health. Mejia has made 5 starts this season to a 2.30 ERA in 27 and 1/3 innings, with 27 K’s and just 4 BB. He is expected to be ready for spring training, so Mejia has a good chance of starting the year in the rotation.

The fifth spot in the rotation is a different story, as it can range from somebody on the big league roster right now (Matt Harvey), to a minor leaguer (Rafael Montero/Jacob deGrom), or to a free agent pitcher. It is likely that the Mets bring in a veteran arm to at least compete for that fifth starting job, but they could also just promote from within as well. Jacob DeGrom is 25 years old and has pitched well enough to at least garner some attention. He also must be added to the 40-man roster, as he is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this offseason. Montero, on the other hand, is a much more highly touted prospect and has shown the progression of a potential front of the rotation starter; however, Montero does not need to be added to the 40-man roster, which will probably mean he starts the season in AAA and is brought up in May/June of  2014.

indexAt this point, Noah Syndergaard is not an option to start the year with the New York Mets. Despite his rough outing on Monday, Thor is dominating AA. He will likely be a little behind the track that Zack Wheeler was on this season, because unlike Wheeler, Syndergaard has yet to reach AAA.

The last option, is signing a free agent pitcher to compete for a spot. There are a few decent options depending on how much the Mets will spend on the offense. A few options are Barry Zito (36), Mike Pelfrey (30), Phil Hughes (28), or Jason Marquis (35). Hughes is an interesting option, because he could also be an option for the bullpen. Zito is a pitcher the Mets coveted years ago, but has struggled all year. Pelfrey probably won’t want to come back, but he would be back in a familiar place.

In all likelihood, the Mets will probably sign a cheap free agent to at least create some competition with some internal options. Despite Matt Harvey’s tweet last night, it is extremely unlikely that he is ready by April 1st.

All in all:

1. Jon Niese

2. Dillon Gee

3. Zack Wheeler

4. Jenrry Mejia

5. Jacob deGrom / FA

So what are your thoughts, Mets fans?

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Marcum To Pitch A Couple Of Simulated Innings Today or Tomorrow Thu, 11 Apr 2013 11:00:57 +0000 Updated on 4/11 by HoJo

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Shaun Marcum is expected to throw two innings of a simulated game before the weekend as he attempts to get ready to comeback from a neck injury and bicep tendinitis.

If all goes well without any setbacks, Marcum could appear in a rehab game with Single-A St. Lucie one day next week. Depending on how that goes, Marcum could then be activated from the disabled list and make his Mets debut in the rotation.

Marcum was acquired to replace R.A. Dickey’s 200 innings in the rotation, however he’s been plagued with assorted injuries and missed most of spring training and started the season on the DL.

Original Post 4/7

If Shaun Marcum’s eight-year Major League Baseball pitching career should end sooner than later, no worries, he could always get work playing Cavity Sam.

His medical record is morphing into the legendary patient profile of Hasbro’s Operation board game. With each passing season new ailments  – and new body parts — pile up and pile on Marcum’s resume. Google Marcum and you can also read about his arm, elbow, shoulder, bicep, calf and, as of last Tuesday, neck. His career has been interrupted by a series of pulls, strains, stiffness, tears, inflammations, impingements and tendinitis.

If you can find Marcum’s medical history via Google, his chronic health issues certainly came as no surprise to the New York Mets, but it is frustrating to a team in desperate need of healthy arms. Johan Santana is gone for the season, and probably forever as far as the Mets are concerned. Frank Francisco is on the disabled list; so is Jenrry Mejia. The Mets have $35.5 million in pitching payroll unable to perform. Jeremy Hefner started Friday against the Miami Marlins, despite suffering a bruised elbow on his pitching arm. Sunday afternoon the Mets will hand the ball to Santana’s replacement, Aaron Laffey, who was bound for Las Vegas just three weeks ago. To make room for him, prospect Jeurys Familia was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Marcum missed the entire 2009 season after having Tommy John surgery. He spent the most of the May, June and July 2012 on the sideline too. Marcum has been DL’d for a variety of injuries during his career.  Milwaukee Brewers blogger Jim Breen fired a warning shot in May 2011 when he stated:

(1) Marcum utilizes stressful mechanics on the mound, which suggests arm/shoulder injuries are likely in the future.

(2) Marcum relies upon a repertoire that does not profile well for success as he reaches his mid-30s.

The Brewers are consciously limiting the pitch-counts for Marcum … because the organization understands the health risk and are attempting to protect their asset for the entire season. Am I about to offer a three-to-five year contract extension at market value to a pitcher that has all the warning signs of another major injury around the corner? Not a chance. That would be foolish.

Then, on the day the Mets signed Marcum, an MLB executive told the Bergen Record, “He’s a blue-collar gamer, but he’s hard to count on for any length of time.”

Not much has changed since Marcum signed with New York. He’s been fighting injuries since he arrived in Port St. Lucie for Spring Training six weeks ago. On March 20, Marcum flew from Florida to New York for an MRI on his shoulder. Doctors reported the Mets pitcher suffered an “impingement” and was given a cortisone shot for inflammation. The team, and Marcum, shrugged it off. On March 31, the Mets officially placed Marcum on the 15-day disabled list with “bicep tendinitis.” The team reported it was not a new injury. On April 2, Marcum cut short a bullpen session, complaining of neck pain. He returned to New York for another MRI which revealed “inflamed nerves” in his neck. The Mets medical team treated Marcum with “trigger-point injections,” but there is still concern whether or not the treatment will remedy what ails the Mets pitcher.

In hindsight, Marcum’s entire career has been a chronic pain in the neck.

The Mets signed Marcum to a one-year, $4 million deal, a modest payroll investment for a major league middle-of-the-rotation starting pitcher — unless your the New York Mets — whose payroll has been shrinking since Bernie Madoff. The Mets, under the direction of Sandy Alderson, have been cutting payroll, trading veterans and stockpiling young talent for more than three years now. The organization has been extremely conservative in the free agent market so why sign Marcum, a pitcher with chronic health problems? They had nearly four million reasons to not sign Marcum.

It’s not as if there was a shortage of free agent starting pitchers available. Kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson, Anibal Sanchez, Joe Blanton, Jason Marquis were all available assuming, based on their choice, the Mets were looking for a right-handed, veteran starting pitcher not asking for Zack Grienke money. All are durable and innings eaters. Instead, Alderson waited until the end of January before finally committing to Marcum — and all the baggage that comes with him. It just doesn’t make sense.

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2010 Outlook: The Nationals – 4th Place Or Bust Sun, 31 Jan 2010 13:05:57 +0000 The Washington Nationals lost 103 games last season.  It would have been worse had they not been saved by a season ending seven game winning streak.  Their pitching was in chaos all season long.  Relief pitchers blew 25 saves during the season.  They had only one starter who made more than 19 starts.

They have made several moves this winter, mostly investing in pitching.  It’s a safe prediction that they will improve from last year’s 103 loss season.

Starting Pitching: If you can say one positive thing about the Nats starting pitching last year, it was John Lannan, 25 years old, who in 33 starts pitched over 200 innings. He was 9-13 but with an excellent 3.88 ERA.  He will return as their #1 starting pitcher.  Jason Marquis, their big free agent signing should be their #2.  Otherwise all you can say is that they have several young starters with potential.  Ross Detwiler, Garrett Mock, JD Martin, Craig Stammen, and Shairon Martis were all rookies last year and will compete for the other starting spots.  Top rookie Jordan Zimmermann (no relation to Ryan Zimmerman), will miss the entire 2010 season due to elbow surgery.  Phenom Stephen Stasburg  may enter the fray but might very well start the season in the minors.

Relief Pitching: Free agent signings Matt Capps and Brian  Bruney will compete for the closer roll.    However, neither is a sure bet.  Capps pitched to a 5.80 ERA for the Pirates, and Bruney, formerly a Yankee, was injured for half the season and mostly ineffective upon his return. The Nats are hopeful that rookie Drew Storen can quickly step up and contribute.  He was the 10th overall pick in last year’s draft and is projected to be the closer of the future.

Offense: Although their greatest strength was their offense, it still ranked in the bottom half in most categories.  Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Willingham had outstanding seasons and will return for 2010.  Christian Guzman may move to 2B to make room for SS Ian Desmond.  Nyjer Morgan and Elijah Dukes will be counted on as well as catcher Jesus Flores who was injured for most of last season.  The Nats have made no major moves this off season to improve their offense, unless you count signing aging catcher Ivan Rodriguez.

Opinion: Upon analyzing the Nationals, they don’t seem to be that much better than the 103 loss season of last year.  Other than Jason Marquis and the two new suspect relief pitchers, they have not added anything of substance.  Offensively, they will be relying totally on Dunn, Zimmerman and  Willingham to repeat their great seasons of 2009.

The one thing that is unarguable is that the Nationals are a very young team.  Twenty two to twenty seven year olds rule.  If Strasburg develops quickly and one or two of their other young pitchers contributes, all bets are off and the Nationals will be much improved.

The Nationals hit rock bottom last year and are now on the rise.  They may be only a couple of years away from being contenders in the NL East.  At least for 2010 Mets fans need not be concerned about falling behind the Nationals.

Prediction:  Wins – 69  Losses – 93

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Meet The Mets? Free Agent Pitchers Would Rather Not Wed, 27 Jan 2010 11:00:41 +0000 So far this offseason, the Mets have failed to lure a free agent pitcher to Flushing.  What was supposedly their top priority (signing a starting pitcher), has turned into an endless series of questions regarding why the Mets can’t get any pitchers to sign with them.  In a span of 24 hours, the Mets and their fans have once again been subjected to watching two more free agent pitchers who were supposedly on the Mets’ radar sign with other teams.

Ben Sheets parlayed his year off from baseball into a one-year, $10 million contract with Oakland and Jon Garland will now peddle his wares in San Diego after signing a one-year deal with the Padres.

I was looking at some of the free agent pitchers (Sheets and Garland included) who were supposedly being considered by the Mets to be a part of their 2010 roster and noticed something interesting.  Tell me if you notice any similarities between these pitchers:

  • Doug Davis: signs with Milwaukee for one year, $5.25 million.
  • Jon Garland: signs with San Diego for one year, $4.7 million.
  • Jason Marquis: signs with Washington for two years, $15 million.
  • Ben Sheets: signs with Oakland for one year, $10 million.
  • Randy Wolf: signs with Milwaukee for three years, $29.75 million.

All of them signed relatively short deals.  All of them signed for less than the average annual value of Oliver Perez’s contract.  However, what I noticed the most is that all of them signed with teams that finished with losing records in 2009.

Davis and Wolf signed with the Brewers, who at 80-82, finished in third place in the NL Central, 11 games behind the first place Cardinals.  Similarly, Garland chose to sign with the fourth-place Padres, who finished 20 games out of first and Sheets signed with the last-place Athletics, who finished 22 games behind the Angels in the AL West.  To make matters worse, Marquis signed with the Nationals, who finished with the worst record in baseball.

Most free agents prefer to sign contracts that promise them big money, long-term security or the chance to play for a contender.  None of the pitchers listed above signed for anything near the amount of money given to this year’s top free agent pitcher, John Lackey.  Not only that, the teams who signed them were able to do so without investing too many years in them.

Why did those pitchers prefer to sign short-term deals with losing teams for reasonable dollars?  Isn’t Citi Field known as a pitcher’s park?  Why wouldn’t they want to come here where they can pitch in a spacious ballpark and put up good numbers so they can earn a fatter contract the next time they become free agents?

I guess word has gotten around that the Mets are no longer one of those teams that players would jump at the opportunity to play for.  They’d rather play for other second-division teams than the one currently playing in Flushing.  It’s a sad indication that this team is not going in the right direction.  They’re not doing enough to put a team on the field that can compete with the Phillies, Marlins and Braves.  Heck, even the Nationals have been making noise in the free agent market.

When the Mets signed Jason Bay last month, we thought it would be the beginning of many press conferences announcing new additions to the team that would help put them back into contention.  So far, that signing just looks like a piece of bubble gum placed over a leak in the Hoover Dam.  It served to hold things up temporarily, but as these other free agents are finding new addresses that do not begin with the letters N and Y, the dam is going to break and the fans are going to let their displeasure flood Citi Field.  Of course, that’s assuming the fans will even go to Citi Field…

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Nationals Sign Jason Marquis, Mets Never Made Offer Tue, 22 Dec 2009 19:42:09 +0000 The Washington Nationals have signed free agent starting pitcher Jason Marquis, according to Byron Kerr of MASN. 

MASN has learned that the Nationals will sign starting pitcher Jason Marquis. Stay tuned for more on this breaking story.

UPDATE: The deal is reported to be for 2 years and $15 million dollars according to Mark Feinsand.

Marquis, who made several overtures that he wanted to sign with the Mets, never got an offer from the Mets who felt it was best to wait for the Jason Bay situation to play out first, although what one has to do  with the other is beyond me, its like suntan lotion and a ski rental.

Let me join the growing list of Mets fans who are boggled by this one or two player at a time approach the Mets have taken this off season. Not only has it led to several blown opportunities already, but the chance for further embarrassment just keeps getting greater.

Last week, Bill Ladson of reported that Marquis was interested in pitching for the Nationals because he found the prospect of mentoring their young pitching staff very appealing.

Many considered that posturing or an attempt to put some pressure on the Mets, who didn’t budge or bat an eye. The Mets are the last team in the world that should be playing a game of chicken. In fact, they should jump on any player who openly admits to wanting to play for them considering how rare that is.

Marquis now joins Randy Wolf, Brad Penny, John Lackey and Rich Harden as pitchers who the Mets had some interest in, but signed elsewhere.

Yet another NL East team makes a significant improvement.

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Mets Interested In Jason Marquis Sat, 12 Dec 2009 14:52:00 +0000 It has been widely reported that the Mets are interested in former Rockies pitcher Jason Marquis. The Mets still have John Lackey as their primary target, but Marquis intrigues them somewhat.

Marquis is definitely worth consideration and could prove to be a solid lower priced option for the Mets. Last season, he won 15 games for the Rockies , and he is only four wins away from reaching 100 in his career. The Mets are not the only team interested in Marquis, as he is starting to draw the attention of a few teams.

In 2009, Marquis had three complete games with the Rockies (which is more than the Mets had as a team) and also pitched a shutout. He also allowed just 15 homeruns all season long, less than Johan Santana who allowed 20 and Pelfrey our sinker baller who allowed 18.

There’s no question that he would be a solid addition to the Mets rotation. If the Mets do not get Lackey (knock on wood) than Marquis would be a better #2 starter than last season’s Pelfrey, and if we do get Lackey, Marquis would be a great option in the #3 slot.

Jason Marquis is a type B free agent which means he would not cost the Mets any draft pick compensation.

Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post wrote that there’s no chance of Marquis returning to the Rockies, but ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Phillies do indeed have interest in Marquis, as do the Nationals.

Marquis, 31, posted a 4.04 ERA, 4.8 K/9, and 3.3 BB/9 in 216 innings for the Rockies this year. He’s been portrayed as having a lousy second half, but he really only struggled in September.

The Staten Island native has made it well known that he strongly desires to pitch for the Mets who he grew up rooting for. Not too many free agents have been so eager to admit to that.

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I’ve Still Got a Bad Feeling About This Offseason Thu, 03 Dec 2009 18:56:46 +0000 I wrote on this site a month or two ago that I had a bad feeling that Omar Minaya would not come away with any prize free agents or make any significant trades to improve the Mets heading into 2010.  I am closer to realizing that after reading this article on about Minaya moving at his own pace during the winter meetings next week.

Sure, the free agent pool is sort of thin this year, but anything less than an all-out effort to make this club better than the floundering one of 2009 will be flat-out unacceptable.  Yet, I’m pretty sure that’s how it will shake out.  This article mentioned that Matt Holliday or Jason Bay may not fit well in Citi Field’s outfield, but I sure as hell would rather one of them in the lineup than the other guy they mentioned—Mike Cameron.  But we’ll probably wind up with Cameron roaming our outfield again.

They go on to discuss some of the free agent pitchers like John Lackey, who apparently is asking for too much money.  Of course he is…. the man has put his time in with the Angels and he’s been a steadying force on that rotation for years.  I would have no problem overpaying for a guy like that, and the fact that the same guy who overpaid Ollie Perez last year is possibly balking at what Lackey is asking for is ludicrous.  This article goes on to mention other possibilities like Randy Wolf and Jason Marquis and Joel Pineiro.  One of those guys would be a decent #3 or #4 guy, but I wouldn’t even feel great if the Mets signed all three of them.

Folks, this is going to be a bad off-season for our team.  I’m not sure if Minaya is waiting for the stronger 2011 free agent class, or if he’s just a lousy GM.  Considering he may not last as our GM until 2011, I’m going with the latter.

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Hot Stove News: Latest On Jason Marquis, Roy Halladay Wed, 18 Nov 2009 20:30:59 +0000 Some fresh news to report that involves a few names that may be of interest to Mets fans. On Friday, the excursive window that teams have to negotiate with their own free agents comes to an end. You can expect things to really start reaching a frenzied peak after that.

Today, Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post had an exclusive interview with free agent starting pitcher Jason Marquis who considers himself a perfect fit with the New York Mets. He recalls when Jeff Francoeur told The Post this summer that free-agent right hander Jason Marquis badly wants to be a Met in 2010, and now it seems Marquis has backed it up.

“It would always be nice to come back home and represent your hometown [as a member of the Mets],” said Marquis, who grew up in Staten Island and still lives there. “This is where I’m from, so to come back here and play in front of friends and family would be an honor.”

The 31-year old Marquis was 15–13 with a 4.04 ERA an 1.38 WHIP last season for the Rockies. in 216 innings pitched he struck out 115 batters. He has had double digit wins for six straight seasons.

According to Jon Heyman of the Yankees recently called the Blue Jays to express interest in superstar pitcher Roy Halladay. And while the Yankees made the very same call last summer with no hope of acquiring Halladay, this time they have a real reason to believe they may actually have a legitimate chance to make a blockbuster trade.

Wow, imagine a 1-2-3 of Halladay, Sabathia and Burnett. Toronto’s new GM insists that he would trade Halladay to his division rivals if their offers helped the Blue Jays more in their opinion. Heyman writes,

Here is the most obvious reason the Yankees (or Red Sox) may now finally have a legit shot to trade for arguably baseball’s best pitcher: New Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos is making it clear he is genuinely willing to consider a deal with either the Yankees or Red Sox, a sharp contrast to Anthopoulos’ predecessor, J.P. Ricciardi, who had GMs convinced he’d never make a Halladay trade with either the Yankees or Red Sox.
Heyman also says in his column that he doesn’t believe that the Mets will pursue Halladay because he does not envision the Mets paying $46 million a year on two starters in their rotation. It’s a point that Joe D. made in this post a few days ago. Also, a Toronto newspaper has confirmed that the Blue Jays will give a negotiating window to any team that ends up trading for Halladay. We’ll keep watching this for you, but there is now no doubt that Halladay has pitched his last game for the Blue Jays.
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Jeff Francoeur Speaks, But Will Omar Listen? Tue, 22 Sep 2009 15:58:42 +0000 An interesting piece appeared in the NY Post this morning by Mike Puma, who spoke to Jeff Francoeur about Rockies pitcher Jason Marquis who will be a free agent this off season.

Jeff Francoeur told The Post yesterday that Marquis, whom he considers a close friend, desperately wants to pitch for the Mets next season, even as the veteran right-hander focuses on helping the Rockies clinch a wild-card berth.

“He’d love to come here,” Francoeur — who indicated Marquis broached the subject to him and David Wright earlier this month when the Mets played at Colorado — said before last night’s 11-3 Atlanta win at Citi Field. He’d be a great fit. He’s from Staten Island. He’s a New York type of guy. He’ll probably be coming off the best season he’s ever had.”

Apparently, Jason Marquis holds no grudge toward the Mets for their lack of interest in him last winter. I think he would be a solid middle rotation pitcher. The Mets would still need a number two pitcher, but Marquis is a workhorse who will give the Mets innings. I have lobbied for Jason Marquis many times in the past two years, long before he had what can only be called the best season of his career while pitching in hitting haven, Coors Field.

I was disappointed when the Cubs offered Jason Marquis to the Mets for Aaron Heilman, and Omar Minaya turned it down. In July, my fellow MMO colleague Ed Leyro wrote the following,

Jon Heyman of reported that the Mets could have sent whipping boy Scott Schoeneweis to the Cubs in exchange for Marquis.  For the second time, the Cubs would have paid part of Marquis’ salary to make the deal more attractive to the Mets.  Once again, the deal was not made.  Instead, the Mets traded Schoeneweis to the Diamondbacks for reliever Connor Robertson.

Wow… That’s such a colossal blunder on so many different levels…

Francoeur also adds that he hopes the Mets focus more on pitching than offense this offseason, and indicated he may try to convince the front office that Marquis is the right fit. Francoeur has become a part of the fabric of this team, so much so that he feels the need to let the organization know his feelings on the Mets’ needs and who he feels can help.

“I’d tell them he’s a guy who can go out there and throw 200 innings every year — and the last few years, the guy averages 14, 15 wins a season,” Francoeur said. “That’s the kind of guy I want on my team. Everybody talks about bats, bats, bats, but I’ve seen this game enough, and I grew up a Braves fan, that pitching wins baseball games. You look around, and I think pitching and defense is the always biggest key.”

Francoeur is right. If the Mets refuse to alter the dimensions it only makes more sense to focus on building a rotation worthy of the park they pitch in. One of my readers pointed out in a post yesterday, that pitchers park will not make a bad pitcher a good pitcher. I get the feeling that is what Omar Minaya thought when he put this rotation together.

In Minaya’s mind, the new park was suddenly going to transform Mike Pelfrey from a number 5 pitcher to a number 2 pitcher. And that Freddy Garcia, Tim Redding and Livan Hernandez would become middle of the rotation mainstays. I don’t know what he was thinking about Oliver Perez, but clearly he thought the vastness of Citi Field would cover up a myriad of pitching flaws. BUZZZZ! Wrong answer!

In addition to Jason Marquis, the Mets would do well to add John Lackey. That would give the Mets a 1-2-3 punch that would be on par with Phillies and trump anything the Marlins or Braves have.

Pitching, pitching, pitching…

Read this related story on Jason Marquis by Ed Leyro.

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Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda: The Jason Marquis Story Tue, 07 Jul 2009 15:42:09 +0000 Before the injuries started mounting, before the fielding and mental errors began to grow, the Mets’ front office made another error.  This error happened in the offseason and it was made by Omar Minaya.  The Mets could have acquired Jason Marquis from the Cubs for practically nothing and didn’t pull the trigger.

First, as reported by Dan Graziano in the Star-Ledger,  the Mets could have sent much-beleaguered reliever Aaron Heilman to the Cubs for Marquis.  The Cubs would also have paid part of Marquis’ nearly $10 million salary, but the Mets passed on the deal because they were trying to include Heilman in a deal for relief pitching.  Instead, Heilman was sent to the Mariners as part of a three-team, 12-player trade that netted the Mets J.J. Putz, Sean Green and Jeremy Reed.  Putz had been scuffling along until he was placed on the disabled list in early June. Green has been maddeningly inconsistent this season with an ERA of 5.00. Reed has been serviceable, but this Mets fan will remember him for the throwing error he made against the Dodgers while playing out of position at first base to give Los Angeles the extra-inning victory.  The irony of this story is that Heilman was eventually traded to the Cubs by the Mariners.  The Cubs desperately wanted Heilman and eventually got their man.  The Mets were left with an injury, a scrub and a defensive replacement.  Strike one.

The Mets continued to discuss a trade with the Cubs for Jason Marquis in December.  Jon Heyman of reported that the Mets could have sent whipping boy Scott Schoeneweis to the Cubs in exchange for Marquis.  For the second time, the Cubs would have paid part of Marquis’ salary to make the deal more attractive to the Mets.  Once again, the deal was not made.  Instead, the Mets traded Schoeneweis to the Diamondbacks for reliever Connor Robertson.  So what has Roberston done since his trade to the Mets?  Absolutely nothing!  He had been languishing at Triple-A Buffalo, with an 0-3 record and a 5.46 ERA and was designated for assignment in late June.  Strike two.

After the Mets failed to pull the trigger on a deal for Marquis, the Cubs stopped being patient and made a deal on their own.  They traded Marquis to Colorado for reliever Luis Vizcaino, who was eventually released and signed by the Cleveland Indians.

So why am I making such a big deal about what might have been?  After all, Jason Marquis had always been no more than a back of the rotation starter.  He was barely over .500 coming into this season (79-70) and had not pitched 200 innings since 2005.  He even found a way to lead the league in losses for a team that won the World Series, by going 14-16 for the 2006 Cardinals.

Well, my friends, after pitching eight shutout innings last night against the Nationals, Marquis is now 11-5.  His 11 victories now lead the major leagues.  He was also recently selected to represent the Rockies in the All-Star Game.  Think about that for a moment.  He pitches in Colorado.  That’s not exactly a place where pitchers thrive.  Normally, they only go to Colorado for the excellent school system. (Right, Mr. Hampton?)  Yet Jason Marquis has not only pitched well in Colorado, but this season he has become one of the best pitchers in the league.  Along with his 11-5 record, his ERA is 3.61.  He has also only allowed nine home runs in 117 1/3 innings, while pitching half his games in a ballpark that gives up its share of long balls.

Obviously, we can’t possibly know how he would have performed for his hometown Mets (Marquis was born in Manhasset and raised in Staten Island), but every time Tim Redding or Fernando Nieve takes the mound, think of what that scene would have looked like if it was Jason Marquis on the hill.  With the Mets still somehow within reasonable distance of the first place Phillies, Marquis could have made a difference.  With the Cubs willing to pay a portion of his salary, he would have been a cheaper option than Oliver Perez without the long-term commitment.  Even if the Mets would have signed Marquis to a long-term deal, they probably could have gotten him for less than the $12 million average annual salary that was needed to sign Ollie.

Omar was slow to make a deal for Jason Marquis and is now paying for it.  The team has struggled to keep a consistent starting staff together.  No one could have predicted the injuries that have decimated the team, but a healthy and consistent Jason Marquis could have alleviated some of the suffering that the fans have been forced to endure watching this team attempt to compete.  Strike three.

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