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What's wrong with Jason Marquis?

Once Jason Marquis descended into the Nationals dugout yesterday, his day concluded having accomplished nothing, he asked if he could throw some pitches in the batting cage. He needed figure out how to fix himself, and he needed to do it now. Pitching coach Steve McCatty followed Marquis down the tunnel and watched him work out his kinks and, most likely, his anger.

"He threw nothing but strikes," McCatty said. "Good sink. It looked real good. Sometimes you get out there and you want to do so well. You're coming over here, wanting to be that competitive guy. He's really pressing."

The Nationals seem convinced Marquis can still be the innings-eating veteran presence they signed this offseason to a two-year, $15 million contact. So far, he has been the exact opposite.

Marquis feels that his problem is physical. He has not been able to find a consistent release point in his delivery to put any power or feel behind his pitches. It's basically the same problem that plagued him in spring training.

"I wasn't able to make that adjustment coming into the season," Marquis said. "I've got to sit down with Cat and the catchers, go over some more film when things were going good. Try to dissect it as much as possible."

McCatty, though, leaned toward the mental aspect. For the first-time in his 10-year career, Marquis arrived with a new team carrying high expectations. The Nationals brought him here to lead their staff. The pressure combined with miserable early results has worn on him. Manager Jim Riggleman said Marquis looked "down in the dumps" when he came off the field yesterday.

"I think that he needs to have that one good game to get him on a roll," McCatty said. "He's trying so hard. He's pressing. I think that's a lot of what's going on.

"Sometimes it gets to be a mental thing where you're trying so hard. I just know that he's a guy that gives you a lot of innings. He's a strike thrower. He just needs to get on that roll, nice and relaxed out there. When you have a few games that you've struggled a little bit, you tend to start rolling. You just got to relax and battle your way through it. That's what he needs to do, and I'm sure he will. He's going to be a big part of us."

But for how much longer if he can't improve? The Nationals can't keep sending Marquis to the mound if he can't give them a chance to win. But they also can't give up on a pitcher with a track record and a two-year contract only three starts into his tenure.

"We're so early in the season, I don't want to send any message to anybody that we're not committed to you," Riggleman said. "We hate sending anybody out. Anybody who made our club and remains on our club, we'd like to give them every opportunity to prove us right that they are a vital part of our club. And certainly Jason is."

FROM THE POST

Marquis's clunker started the Nationals' 11-7 loss to the Brewers. The Nationals pounded 16 hits, included three apiece from Ivan Rodriguez and Adam Kennedy and two more from Ryan Zimmerman.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Syracuse 3, Lehigh Valley 1: Luis Atilano allowed one run on eight hits and a walk while striking out three in six innings. He is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his first two starts. Kevin Mench went 2 for 4 with a home run.

New Brunswick 4, Harrisburg 3: Mike Daniel went 3 for 3 with a walk, a triple and two runs. Reliever Erik Arnesen allowed only a walk in 1 2/3 innings. In 10 innings of relief this year, Arnesen has allowed one run.

Potomac 8, Wilmington 0: Derek Norris made his season debut after missing the early portion of the season with soreness in his wrist, a consequence of offseason hamate surgery. Norris went 0 for 2 and was replaced by Brian Peacock, who hit a two-run home run and walked. In his first career start, Evan Bronson allowed two hits and a walk while striking out two in five shutout innings.

Hagerstown 9, Delmarva 7 (12 innings): The Suns scored three in the 12th to win. Destin Hood went 4 for 6 and is now hitting .417/.429/.563. Starter Daniel Rosenbaum allowed one earned run in six innings while striking out eight. He has allowed one run in 17 1/3 innings this year and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is 18 to 3.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

The Blue Jays appear interested in Jason Bergmann.

The Rockies come to Nats Park after Ubaldo Jimenez threw a no-hitter Saturday and after getting Heywarded on Sunday.

Marquis's might have been the worst start in Nationals history.

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 19, 2010; 9:15 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Miguel Batista gave up a grand slam, then gave the Nationals a chance
Next: Today's lineup

Comments

When Strasburg gets up here I say its time to move Stamen over to the bullpen or down to AAA. However when Wang gets healthy and is ready to come play, Marquis could be shown the door, we can't allow this kind of performance, especially with a offence that is driving in the runs. This team could easily be up another 2-3 games.

Posted by: alex35332 | April 19, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"McCatty, though, leaned toward the mental aspect." Today's topic -- Is Steve McCatty the Lenny Harris of pitching coaches? Discuss.

Posted by: Section222 | April 19, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Marquis isn't off to a good start, but he should get at least 3 or 4 more starts to see if he can get on track as long as he is able to go a few innings.

It is a big problem if he can't get out of the first. Then he might need to go to Colunbus to get some innings in and work on problems. His control yesterday was really disturbing. Hopefully he is not becoming a Steve Blass (everything was mental with him) or Matt Morris who just couldn't pitch against major league hitters for most of his last 6 months or so in majors.

Posted by: Pensfans | April 19, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

32 y/o pitcher with a suspect second half in 2009. Journeymen (Braves, Cubs, Cards, Rocks) at best and why should we expect anything different. Rememeber during Hot Stove when Boz was railing about Wolf, Davis, Marquis and Garland, hows all of that working out?

Lets think of it this way, against the Phillies in his 2nd start he was rolling until the ump continued to squeeze him and then he fell apart. Yesterday he can't get an out. Maybe he is what he is, a guy who got lucky pitching for good teams and now when he has got to deliver because this team is not as good then its a bag full of excuses. I think its called the mean!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 19, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

A couple of things. Norris threw out two base runners in his start (from NFA). Since his catching skill (or lack there of)kept him at Hagerstown, this is progress. Magquis should get one or two more starts to see what there is to see. And from the in game thread from yesterday, yes Jennx, this team is better than last years at 12 ames and hopefully further into the season.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | April 19, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I am not a pitching Coach so I don't know what is wrong with him. Maybe Marquis needs that extra work throwing a simulated inning like they did last year with JZim before he actually starts the game.

If he can't get it together quickly, this team can't wait for him.

Posted by: dmacman88 | April 19, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

When Detwiler, Wang, and Jesus show up in June/July three will have to go. Detwiler will replace Stamen. Jesus will replace Livo. That leaves Wang if Olsen keeps pitching like the old Olsen, Marquis would be the odd man out. As far as Stamen and Livo I would like to see Stamen optioned to AAA and Livo moved to the pen you will need him for innings later in the season. The person in the pen gone would have to be Batista.

Posted by: hansenjo | April 19, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Good news with Marquis is that it seems not to be an arm injury. Seems unlikely that a guy with a hurting arm would immediately want to throw more pitches? And for those saying Marquis is nothing but a journeyman, etc.--hey, I'll take 5-6 mediocre innings from him (at least til June). That's what he showed us in spring training, and that would've looked plenty good yesterday.

Message to Jason: we don't expect you to be an ace, we're happy with mediocre. And keep taking those BP swings--we might need you as a pinch-hitter!

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | April 19, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

adhardwick:

The problem Norris had defensively was with his errors & passed balls, not his arm. I think the FO just wants to get him as comfortable being behind the plate as he seems to be alongside it.

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I don't think we have to dance around superlatives here. It was absolutely the worst start in Nationals history.

The only thing that could have made it worse is Riggleman leaving him out there longer.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 19, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Not a pro athelete or anything even close, but about 20 years ago I blew out my elbow bowling and didn't even know it. Felt very little pain and didn't lose any power, but could no longer control the ball as I always had. I have to wonder if Marquis may have done the same thing.

Posted by: truke | April 19, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

When Detwiler, Wang, and Jesus show up in June/July three will have to go. Detwiler will replace Stamen. Jesus will replace Livo. That leaves Wang if Olsen keeps pitching like the old Olsen, Marquis would be the odd man out. As far as Stamen and Livo I would like to see Stamen optioned to AAA and Livo moved to the pen you will need him for innings later in the season. The person in the pen gone would have to be Batista.

Posted by: hansenjo | April 19, 2010 10:23 AM
_______________________________

Huh? Jump on the bandwagon, Livo and Ubaldo Jimenez are up there with Doc Halladay for Cy Young!

Seriously though, there are too many "ifs" with Wang, and Detwiler hasn't thrown a pitch so who knows with him.

I think Strasburg takes the spot of the weakest link when Rizzo is ready to bring him up.

Stammen just seems like he is a BP pitcher when he faces the lineup 2nd time around so the bullpen may be a good spot for him unless he can start gettting into the 6th and 7th inning of games. Marquis as discussed is out of sorts. Olsen looked decent on his start and hopefully can build on that. Lannan is coming around. Livo is the man right now, and looking like "Comeback Player of the Year".

Posted by: dmacman88 | April 19, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

There's nothing I can bear to say about Jason Marquis today, so instead I'll look back to August 2006 when Frank Robinson was dealing with another hot-shot pitcher that inexplicably stank.

When asked, what are you going to do about Tony Armas, Jr, he replied:

"If I could fix him, I wouldn't be sitting here. Believe me, I'd be sitting on an island somewhere, with a nice drink in my hands, and relaxing -- with my own private jet. When there was a Tony Armas around, I'd fly in and fix him and go back to my island."

Posted by: Section506 | April 19, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

hansenjo: Do you mind if we send Livo out for maybe 3 or 4 mor starts before you banish him to AAA/bullpen, Please!!! Marquis/Stammen should be so lucky imho Livo is a pro he at least has a clue. Marquis is full of it spring training should have at least solved some of these so called issues i personally think this signing was a mistake 15 mil for 2 years Rizzo, what were you thinking?

Posted by: dargregmag | April 19, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

It is a big problem if he can't get out of the first. Then he might need to go to Colunbus to get some innings in and work on problems.

Posted by: Pensfans | April 19, 2010 9:49 AM

Well, we'd have to trade Marquis to the Indians for him to get work in Columbus. Our AAA affiliate is in Syracuse.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 19, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Man, quotes like that make me miss the hell outta Frank Robinson.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 19, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Stop believing the not obvious. Send him down with Mock so the guys in the minors have "major" league quality batting practice pitchers. Risso got bamboozled by the Rockies, so far he is still ahead of the game so cut the junk now.

Posted by: arealist1 | April 19, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I have a sinking feeling regarding Marquis. He reports he lacks "power."

Many years ago a former minor league pitcher told me that with pitchers, the first thing to go is the legs, which of course supply the "power." He also said it can happen virtually overnight and it's totally unpredictable as to the timing. Everyone is different. You wake up one day and your legs don't function they way they used to. When it happens, he said, you're done. Same with lacrosse players.

It may be that Marquis has simply lost it, as my friend described. If so, his career is over. No amount of coaching, rehabbing, etc., can overcome Mother Nature.

Posted by: JohnRDC | April 19, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

>Marquis feels that his problem is physical. He has not been able to find a consistent release point in his delivery to put any power or feel behind his pitches. It's basically the same problem that plagued him in spring training.

"I wasn't able to make that adjustment coming into the season," Marquis said.

He was talking about having to adapt to a new style even last year because he had lost velocity and had to rely on the sinker. Of course it's physical - he can't throw hard anymore. Problem is, this was public knowledge before he even signed a contract. First the velocity goes, then the ability to control a pitch goes, and then he goes.

Posted by: Brue | April 19, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong I love Livo I was happy to have him back. All I'm saying is June will be interesting as long as Wang and Detwiler are healty.

Marquis is trash and sould not have been signed. Stamen is good but not great. I would love to have the rotation as Lannnan, Wang, Livo, Detwiler, and Jesus. It most likly will be Lannnan, Wang, Olsen, Detwiler, and Jesus. The reality is three must go, Livo SHOULD be kept for insurance. The only way to do that though is in the pen.

The other possibility is you trade Lannan while his value is high and get a RF in return. I think for half a year we could live with Wang, Olsen, Detwiler, Livo, Jesus. The one thing with Lannan is he will most likley be the fith starter if all are healthly in 2011/2012. Jesus, Zimmerman, Detwiler, Thompson, Lannan. So why not move him now and get better value for him.

Posted by: hansenjo | April 19, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Good news with Marquis is that it seems not to be an arm injury. Seems unlikely that a guy with a hurting arm would immediately want to throw more pitches?

Posted by: CapPeterson1

Because he's scared, and he wants to convince himself that he's not done. If you have a dead arm, you don't necessarily feel much pain, you just can't grip the ball, find a release point, follow through properly, etc. He also wouldn't have any of these mechanical problems if he was able to throw the same way he had the last 10 years, he wouldn't be searching for a new delivery with new pitches featured. Guy's thrown an awful lot of innings, and like Palmer said, 'you only have so many innings in your arm, then after that, you're done'

Posted by: Brue | April 19, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Good news with Marquis is that it seems not to be an arm injury. Seems unlikely that a guy with a hurting arm would immediately want to throw more pitches?

Posted by: CapPeterson1
----------
This was my first thought on reading this post, too.

I actually went back to watch the first inning disaster on DVR, since I was on a plane to waste that time live. Previous to his warmups, Marquis was CHATTING WITH SOME KIDS on the mound, his jersey wasn't buttoned, and he was shaking his head on most of his warm-up pitches.

I don't think he was MENTALLY ready to pitch. He didn't look loose, and was trying to aim the ball like a dart. Funny thing, though: he had Weeks with a borderline pitch and then the grounder just gets by Zim. Either of those things go, and he has one out, and a different story. Same with Braun, goes 3-2 (didn't get a borderline strike call), and then goes in the tank (similar to Philly).

There's two glimmers of hope here:
1. It's not physical/injury;
2. A little squeezing by the ump causes him to press. One hopes that his mental fortitude will improve - maybe that starts in his prepartion before his starts.

Posted by: mo_dc | April 19, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Kasten will continue to burn draft picks on pitchers in a vain attempt to re-create the Brave's once-in-a-lifetime luck with Glavine, Maddox, Avery, and Smoltz.

Strasberg is a great start, but this team has a long way to go if they think Marquis is an ace.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | April 19, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Oh, one other thing, no one is thinking Doug Davis pitched like Cy Young yesterday either, and he almost cost his team a huge lead.

Boz often cited Davis as an option, one which I was glad was NOT taken up by Rizzo et al. I remember the Nats having success against Davis in the past, with LOUSY lineups.

Posted by: mo_dc | April 19, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

to be fair, they never said he was an ace. they just said he was better than the guys they had last year, or the year before that, or the year before that while we're at it.
So far, not so much.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 19, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

which is why you need one more pitcher than you think you need.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 19, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Mo, I was just saying to my wife that Davis was the guy they passed up to get Marquis, when he blew up and couldn't get out of the fifth with a ten-run lead.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 19, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

If it's in his head--too much pressure to be the top guy for a lifetime back-end starter--and he's pressing, as McCatty said, then take off the pressure, make him the long man, and bring up someone or give Batista a start or two.
If the problem is indeed mechanical, and something he can fix, as opposed to physical, something that may or may not heal, then the bullpen should be a good place to work that out.
And if he's not healthy, then you have to DL him.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 19, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight -- you sign a gas can to a two-year $15 Million contract and you expect him not to be the gas can he has always been? Welcome to NatsTown?

Posted by: jwing14 | April 19, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

He's a gas can -- just because you sign him to 2 Years at $15 Million doesn't change what he is -- he's a gas can

Posted by: jwing14 | April 19, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

He's a solid starter, never been spectacular, but always solid.

It's unrealistic to put the expectations on him to be a staff ace, because he'll never be a staff ace.

... but almost ANY ballclub would take him on the back end of their rotation.

You guys are being ridiculous. He'll probably work it out. The guy is solid, has a long track record.

As for folks saying Marquis dropped off in the second half, he always drops off in the second half! It's not like we don't have a decade of stats on this guy.

Posted by: CapitolWill | April 19, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

@mo_dc: "Previous to his warmups, Marquis was CHATTING WITH SOME KIDS on the mound, his jersey wasn't buttoned, and he was shaking his head on most of his warm-up pitches."

I noticed the chatting with kids thing myself in the pregame. Thought it was a bit weird. By the time the disaster happened, I had forgotten about it.

Indeed, I think his mind was just not on the game at all. Which is deeply problematic on its face, considering his previous starts and spring training. Relax, yes, but do think about the game before it starts.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | April 19, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Whats up is his Sinker Ball..thats whats up man!

Posted by: Cartaldo | April 19, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

You know, everyone talks about Livo as if it's some kind of miracle he's not dead at his age. But he's only 35. Yeah, that's old for a ballplayer, but look at him out on the mound. He doesn't even look like he's working hard. Does anyone want to bet that he won't still be pitching when he's 40? The guy always has his head in the game, doesn't get ruffled in the jams, knows how to get the big outs. In short, he knows how to pitch.

Anyone who thinks he's expendable after all the injured guys and the hot young guns come up should remember one thing: Old age and treachery beat youth and enthusiasm every time.

Posted by: gilbertbp | April 19, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I think that Marquis's excuses about not being able to find the right release point are a bit much. At this point is his career he should not be reaching for that. His mental approach to his starts might be the real problem. A guy has to adjust as he ages as he moves clubs. I can only hope that he'll find his groove. If not, this club is in real trouble. If the innings eater cannot eat the innings, then they'll haver to get creative yet again with waiver wire fodder and call ups of not yet ready for prime time guys. Rizzo's on the hot seat over this move already. Good thing Pudge is crushing the ball.

Posted by: dfh21 | April 19, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Does anyone want to bet that he won't still be pitching when he's 40? "

I would bet he is. Actually, I would bet he is right now, as would most folks on this blog, which is why everyone makes a big deal about his age

Posted by: Section506 | April 19, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@Section506: Okay, 50, then.

Posted by: gilbertbp | April 19, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

OK, let me throw this one out there for those who know more about pitchers and pitching than I do.
I'm concerned about Ross Detwiler. First, JimBo raved about what an ace he'd be in the bigs and then our pitching experts promptly made him get rid of his cross-the-body throwing motion. He struggled in the minors until he went back to his old way of throwing and then showed enough to get promoted to the bigs, where he pitched well at times. Then he came down with this hip injury. Is the hip injury related to his returning to his old motion? Does this mean he'll never to be able to stay healthy while using that motion?
[signed]
Concerned in College Park

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | April 19, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

It amazes me people have preconceived notions of who should go, and not based on performance. That is similar to Rizzo keeping Mock up and sending Olsen down. Livo has been lights out so far, and Batista is not the biggest problem in the bullpen. We are not in a good enough position to start thiking about replacing players that are playing well just because we have Strasburg, Detwiler, and Wang coming. Two of them are coming off injuries. The reality at this point is that we have one question -- should Marquis make his next start. If not, who replaces him. I say if he checks out physically, one more start for Marquis and if it's lousy he goes to the Pen to work it out.

Posted by: Jeff_Jackson | April 19, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

dfh21, what do you mean by "Rizzo's on the hot seat over this move (signing Marquis)"?

You think Rizzo's job is in danger? I highly doubt it.

Posted by: usmc53 | April 19, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Jeff__Jackson,

My reply would be to have Marquis and Batista switch roles until Marquis produces some good innings in long save or blown ballgame situations. I think the problem is as much mental with Marquis so pitching in a less pressure packed situation will be better to get him back to former sharpness. As it is now, I dont trust him in another start.

Posted by: driley | April 19, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

@dfh21

Hot Seat? Seriously? I think just Maybe in your world he is.

I think the rest of human society thinks he is doing just fine.

Posted by: Cartaldo | April 19, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"Is the hip injury related to his returning to his old motion?"

Quite possibly, but the truth is, we don't know for sure. Certainly, a number of experts believe his motion is problematic and promotes injuries. Then again, have you ever seen old video of Walter Johnson pitching?

Posted by: Section506 | April 19, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I have no problem with him chatting with the kids prior to the start. The Nats aren't the only team that has area kids on the field with the players on Sunday games, and I'd rather the players interact with them than simply ignore them (see Dukes, Elijah).

Chatting with youngsters doesn't render a pitcher incapable of focusing and turning in a decent start. And if it was a distraction for Marquis, then I'm worried about his makeup.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 19, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

@driley: I think we're in agreement on the move, but I'd give it one more start before I pulled the trigger. Batista has now shown he's capable of giving you 5 IP of 3 ER ball, which is more than Marquis (or Stammen) has shown at this point.

FWIW, I think Stammen is on a fairly short leash at this point, too. If he can't get it together shortly, I'd like to see what Atilano (who has a sub 2 ERA in Syracuse) or J.D. Martin can do. If they decide to make Stammen a reliever, he needs to go down to AAA to make the change.

Posted by: Jeff_Jackson | April 19, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm concerned about Ross Detwiler. First, JimBo raved about what an ace he'd be in the bigs and then our pitching experts promptly made him get rid of his cross-the-body throwing motion. He struggled in the minors until he went back to his old way of throwing and then showed enough to get promoted to the bigs, where he pitched well at times. Then he came down with this hip injury.

Posted by: CapPeterson1

The reason they wanted to get him away from across the body motion is that it makes your fastball sail, and it flattens out your breaking stuff. He might get away with his old motion to an extent, but the brass knew that he'd never be a consistent winner at the highest level with it. He's got a weak body, so his delivery is inconsistent. He got the hip injury because he's basically weak - it's like an extension of a groin problem. You get groin and back problems because you're either weak or out of shape, most times. The reason he didn't rediscover his hip pain until a month before ST is because he was lazy and did nothing leading up to that, then tried to get in shape. My opinion on Detwiler is that until he raises his arm slot, which will take upper body strength, he'll continue to struggle. He needs to hit the weights. No reason for him to look as skinny as he is 3 years after he was drafted. I wouldn't count on him for anything more than getting your hopes up and then let down again. I mean, he's never gone more than 5 or 6 innings in the majors anyway. He's 24, and beginning to like like he's lazy to me.

Posted by: Brue | April 19, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there's no way Marquis can be sent to Columbus, or Syracuse. He's way out of options I'm sure. He'll get several more starts to show he can be the mediocre pitcher he's always been.

Neither Wang nor Detweiler is a sure thing when they come back up. Zimmermann won't pitch until September at the earliest. Our starting pitching staff, though improved from last year's kiddie corps, is still a huge minus for the team. Let's just hope Livo keeps up his impersonation of an ace so we have two we can rely on for quality starts most games that they pitch.

Posted by: Section222 | April 19, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

@222: I believe the rule is if a player has more than 5 years major league service, he must consent to a minor league assignment. So you're correct.

Posted by: Jeff_Jackson | April 19, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Well if anyone had offered me a .500 record through April 19th I would have taken that and not asked what was behind door #2. And I am generally inclined to say that it's too early to write off Jason Marquis. Having said that, the way he finished last season, the way he pitched in ST and his start to this season is certainly cause for concern. In short, I hope Brue is wrong, but he's been right about other stuff before, so I am cautious.

Also, 506, Walter Johnson could pitch like that because he had like five arms or something.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 19, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Someone mentioned upthread that Marquis didn't appear ready to pitch on Sunday. Bingo. That's Jason Marquis. He's not mentally tough, that's why the Braves gave up on him and he moved around. That's why he didn't pitch in the 2006 post-season. That's why sometimes he's unhittable (a couple games against the Nats at RFK), and sometimes he gets pounded.

During Saturday's game, Carpy was blubbering on about how Marquis is upset with how poorly he's pitched, and he's "chomping at the bit" to pitch on Sunday. Then the camera showed him, and he had his wrap around shades on and was yawning, didn't look like a care in the world.

Posted by: mike8 | April 19, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Zimmerman wears wrap-around shades and has been seen to yawn occasionally. Is he not mentally tough either?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 19, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

One of the last starting pitchers cut was Luis Atilano. It appears his pitching has improved over last year. So far in Syracuse the former 1st rounder has done extremely well and is a reason they are currently in first place. He has an ERA of 1.64 and a WHIP of 1.09 with a 2 wins 0 losses record. His walks to strike outs was reasonable last year with 28 walks against 66 K's. Right now its at 2 walks and nine K's.

He's 25. I don't think he's a soft tosser. Perhaps its time to give him a whirl. They've pretty much tried every other prospect in AAA.

Posted by: periculum | April 19, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Nats pitching staff has 1 that's ONE pitcher long term that can be counted on--Lannan. Let's face it, Livo will fold pretty soon. Maybe he can do just well enough to buy the Nats a young prospect from a contending team later on. Olson is one twitch away from the DL. Stamen stinks and then there's Marquis. Even with Stras comin up that doesn't bode well for the staff. That cupboard is pretty bare. And that's all on Rizzo.

Posted by: dovelevine | April 19, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Almost everyone was on board with signing Marquis on this board, funny how quick people jump on Rizzo. One or two good starts and all will be forgotten, if he's lost it because of arm or leg problems then expect the Nats to eat his salary and wait for reinforcements to arrive. Would a better option to have been not sign him at all???

Posted by: SCNatsFan | April 19, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

It's WAY too soon to give up on Marquis or to award the Cy Young to Livo. One of my Mets friends was reminding me how good Livo looked early last season for them. I wish him all the success in the world, but it's not like money in the bank.

Posted by: nats24 | April 19, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

For 2 years Wang did not come forward with his injury. Two years in which he was really horrible. Albeit Marquis looks worst. There in no guarantee that Wang won't look as bad or worst than Marquis when he comes back from shoulder surgery. In fact the chances are about even. Of course he is gong to say he is progressing nicely to the Asian press!?

After reading the glowing, unsolicited accolades for Jordan Zimmermann that Rizzo put in his blog. I suspect that you will be seeing him come back from TJ well before Wang.

Posted by: periculum | April 19, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

My point, nunof1, was that it was ironic that they were talking about mental toughness when he was yawning. But thanks for being a tool about it, and you're name is really really clever.

And, yes, they should not have signed Marquis. They would have been better off with young guys who are no good.

Posted by: mike8 | April 19, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the second year of Marquis' contract is guaranteed? In any case Strasburg (and likely as not Storen) will be up soon enough. Given the new profusion of pitching in the minors one or more have to show eventually don't you think? Look at English? Given the performance by Harrisburg's whole pitching staff (not only Stras and Storen) you have to think its sooner rather than later at this point. Atilano's and Martin's performances in Syracuse have been solid.

Perhaps patience, at a record of 6 wins and 6 losses, is the order of the day. Hoping that management will call these guys up if their performances continue to warrant it. And that they won't allow Marquis nor anyone else block them. On a pitching staff that is currently ranked close to the bottom of all of baseball. And for Mike Rizzo pitching is the most important thing of all.

Posted by: periculum | April 19, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Signing Marquis was not the problem. Saying that's all we needed and not signing AT LEAST, at least one other and really two other starting pitchers was not only derelect but really hubris on Rizzo's part. Saying that's all we needed, well that still blows me away.

Posted by: dovelevine | April 19, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Good one, BobL. :-)

---

Also, 506, Walter Johnson could pitch like that because he had like five arms or something.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 19, 2010 2:18 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 19, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

dovelevine, in case you didn't notice they did sign one other starting pitcher besides Marquis. And that pitcher threw a complete game shutout on Saturday, and is currently 2-0 on the season with an ERA of 0.00. I guess the stiff breeze on Saturday blew you away, eh?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 19, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

dovelevine, in case you didn't notice they did sign one other starting pitcher besides Marquis. And that pitcher threw a complete game shutout on Saturday, Posted by: nunof1

Come on--Seriously? Check my earlier post for comments on Livo. Like I said, hopefully he'll be good enough to get us a prospect later in the year. He is certainly not the answer and can hardly be considered a suitable signing. Lets keep it real here ok?

Posted by: dovelevine | April 19, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Everybody wringing their hands about how Livo's going to crumble at the edges in the middle of the season should recall that the middle of the season is when the phenoms come on board.

I've got a ticket for the Reds series in the first weekend in June, and I have high hopes that I will see our own version of Tim Lincecum then.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | April 19, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

>>I've got a ticket for the Reds series in the first weekend in June Posted by: shepdave2003

Which Reds game? BTW phenoms? Plural? Who am I missing?

Posted by: dovelevine | April 19, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Interesting how Rizzo's a dope for signing Marquis and a genius for signing Pudge.
Some free agent deals work out well, some don't, and you know that going in.
Marquis has been a consistently decent MLB pitcher for 10 years. No reason to expect more.
He'll get all the time he needs, and then some to work this out. If he doesn't very soon, then he'll likely to DL with an strained oblique or some other ubiquitous injury.

Zimmermann will be nearly a non factor this year. Counting on him to shore up the rotation this year is asking way too much.

And what will Wang and Detwiler bring? Who knows. They're still along way off from being MLB ready. And there's no real reason to thin k Detwiler will be appreciably better than Mock, Stammen, Chico, Martin, and the rest of the AAAA arms we have.

If Wang comes through (and makes Rizzo a genius again), that would be huge. It's possible, but I wouldn't call it likely.

For all the guys returning from injury, especially Wang and Zimmermann, it's 2011 when they could make a real impact.

And keep in mind that Strasburg (can we please knock of the Jesus stuff) is going to be inning limited, and will likely be headed to the bullpen come late August.

Posted by: Sunderland | April 19, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Sunderland - Very good thoughts. I agree with everything you said.

2011 is the year to get excited about!

Dunn to me is the most puzzling guy. I think Marquis will get it together.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 19, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

@dovelevine: "Which Reds game? BTW phenoms? Plural? Who am I missing?"

I don't know which one you're missing. Strasburg or Storen? (Yes, one's on the front end of the game and one's on the back end, but they're both phenoms, yes?)

Posted by: shepdave2003 | April 19, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I watched Marquis a lot last season. Clearly, Wolf was the better pitcher. Ah well, thrifty ownership...

Posted by: gbooksdc | April 19, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

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