With the battle for the final two rotation spots looking uninspiring, the New York Yankees should look into the services Jason Marquis.
So far, the competition for the final two spots for the New York Yankees rotation has been unexciting, to say the least.
The candidates — Luis Severino, Chad Green, Luis Cessa, Bryan Mitchell and Adam Warren — have combined for an ERA of 3.40 across 34.4 innings of work and have struck out 25 batters compared to walking just 14.
The concern goes a little beyond the numbers, though. Green and Cessa are struggling with command, Warren will best serve the Yankees in his swingman role and Severino, while he has figured out his changeup, can’t work his fastball into the lower part of the zone.
Mitchell has impressed in camp and experienced major league success last season but if no one else separates themselves from the rest of the pack, it’s beneficial to the kid’s development and confidence if they work out the kinks in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rather than get lit up in the Bronx.
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If the situation remains unchanged, the Yankees could (and probably should) look elsewhere to fill the void. Trading for Jose Quintana doesn’t seem like a likely scenario, but what about a low-risk, high reward move like signing Team Isreal’s ace, Jason Marquis?
The 38-year-old righty has pitched in seven postseason series, appeared in the 2004 World Series and received a National League All-Star selection in 2009, but is way past his prime by approximately eight years. From 2004-09, Marquis posted an 80-68 record in 194 games (191 starts) featuring a 4.49 ERA and 649 strikeouts between the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies.
Those numbers aren’t exactly encouraging. In fact, for a “prime,” it’s mediocre at its best. However, his contemporary stint with Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic certainly warrants a look.
In three starts (most in the WBC), Marquis owns a 0.93 ERA over 9.2 innings of work and has only allowed one run. During Saturday’s 4-1 win over Team Cuba, he allowed his first run — on a home run by Alfredo Despaigne — on four hits and a walk over 5.2 innings of work while inducing seven ground ball outs.
With that kind of rotation leader, it should come to no one’s surprise that Israel has won seven straight WBC contests.
It should also be the opposite of unusual to see Marquis, who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since May 25, 2015, accumulate some interest from major league clubs when the tournament is all set and done.
“My agents have sent out some feelers, but I didn’t throw for any teams this winter,” Marquis told Jon Morosi MLB.com before the tournament. “The WBC is a good platform to show where I stand. Hopefully, everything goes well. You never know what can happen with teams, whether it’s injuries or younger pitchers not being as ready as they thought. Maybe I can snag a job.”
Again, if the Yankees are truly focussed on the development of their young starters and don’t see improvements from now until April 2, they’ll be a team that possesses “younger pitchers not being as ready as they thought.”
Marquis has spent the past year and a half at home in New York, has been working out with weighted balls, has made mechanical adjustments during frequent throwing sessions and claims he’s back to the weight he was at age 22.
If you don’t think a Staten Island native hungry for another stint in major league baseball wouldn’t sign with the New York Yankees at a discounted rate, you’re crazy. And if you think the Yankees, who saw 22 starts in 2016 made by hurlers that weren’t even part of the rotation to commence the season, wouldn’t want someone who could possibly stabilize the rotation at a discounted rate, you’re even crazier.
Will it happen? Probably not. But general manager Brian Cashman followed his “roster is 99.9 percent set” comment with the cheap signings of Jon Niese and Chris Carter, so he’s certainly looking to improve the squad anyway he can. Why not turn to someone who’s currently shutting down the best ballplayers in the world?