Sunday, March 02, 2008

Let This Pitcher Go

Jason Marquis started flapping his yapper over the weekend:
Marquis is battling for one of the five spots in the starting rotation, but don't tell him that.

"I'm out there battling the hitters and trying to get better day by day. If they don't want me in the rotation here in Chicago, we'll go from there. We'll see what happens."

So would he ask for a trade if he's left out of the rotation?

"We'll cross that path when it comes, obviously," he said.

Marquis was 12-9 with a 4.60 ERA last year for the Cubs in the first season of a three-year, $21 million contract. His ERA was 6.21 in September, and Piniella ignored him in the playoffs.


"I love Chicago; I definitely want to say here," Marquis said. "This is the place I want to be. I signed here for a reason. But I also signed to be a starter, exactly. I think that's where I help the team the most. We'll see what happens when it's time for them to make their decision.

"As much as I want to be here in Chicago -- I love it; I love the fans; I love the stadium -- I still have a family to worry about, too. I can take my services elsewhere, if that's the case. I can help another team in that capacity as a starter. My value doesn't lie in the bullpen, in my mind."

A family to worry about? Maybe Jason needs a new agent because his next $16 million in income is guaranteed so long as the Cubs don't file Chapter 7.

Lou Piniella, easily recognizing a pile of crap, was having none of it:

"Well, if that's the case, he can go somewhere else. How's that? Win a spot in rotation; you don't have to worry about it. I said we had seven starters here for five spots. It's a little bit too early to start talking about what he wants to do or not do."

A minute or so later, Piniella didn't need to be prompted.

"That galls me about Marquis; it really does," he said. "I'm not pleased with that comment at all. We've got a good camp over here. Everybody's getting an opportunity. Go out and win a spot in the rotation. Nobody's going to stand in your way if you do it. That's the easy way out … He can go somewhere else right now if he wants. How's that?"

There's actually an easy way out of this for everyone. Lou needs to tell Marquis that he's been relegated to the bullpen effective immediately. Marquis, now in year two of a three year deal, should exercise his right to demand a trade. The Cubs should then comply and send him to Tampa Bay where he will pitch in obscurity and he will be unable to do what Jason does best - hit.

If Jason doesn't like this, he can declare himself a free agent. The Cubs would then be free of his contract and any obligations to pay him and Jason will be free to care for his family.

I'm sure they will be happy with fewer dollars, but the ability to live in Tampa where Jason's second half crappy pitching won't matter.

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