I don't understand all of the Jason Marquis hate going around here.
Jason Marquis has won 54 games in the last four years, including at least 12 in each of those years and he is being forced to compete for a job in the rotation? I understand where Piniella's coming from: he does have seven starters, but to say that all seven pitchers are on the same level playing field is ridiculous.
Granted, with the amount of capable options, Marquis could lose the job during Spring Training, but he should be as much of a lock for number four as Rich Hill is for number three. If my number four starter can win 14 games while posting a 4.60 ERA, I'd be ecstatic. And that's exactly what Jason Marquis has been averaging since 2003; he's got potential to be even better. I challenge all of the Marquis haters to name a better number four in this league. He might be one of the top three (if not the best) #4 starter in the National League today!
Dempster should be fighting for a spot in the rotation. Lieber should be fighting for a spot in the rotation. Marshall should be fighting for a spot in the rotation. Not Marquis.
But what are you going to do? Send Marquis to the minor leagues? Move him to the bullpen? He's an established big league starter and he should remain that way. I, too, am upset that he is being asked to compete for a job.
For once, I do agree with the player.
Partly, blame Jim Hendry for this for signing Lieber. (Note that I say blame in the same tone that I call having too many pitchers a problem.) Initially, we suspected that the Lieber signing was because the Cubs planned to flip Marquis or Marshall to the Orioles in a trade for Brian Roberts. Judging by the Cintron signing, we still think that a Roberts deal is in place, and there's still a very good chance that this thing gets done.
We'll see how things turn out.
Wood, Howry compete for closing job: With Kerry Wood and Bob Howry competing for the spot as the club's closer, both allowed at least a run in their Saturday Cactus League outing. However, I can't help but noticing that both pitchers threw the ball extremely well. Wood got victimized for three bloop hits and a homerun that looked like a shallow fly coming off the bat and Howry also suffered a slew of soft hits.
If you ask me, both showed they are capable of closing. But we already knew that.