Filed:February 25th, 2010
Lost amongst the news of Carlos Zambrano's secret handshake with Kevin Millar, Angel Guzman being shut down, Ted Lilly being flu-ridden, and the existential question of should Lou Piniella tweet or not tweet, came a small snippet out of Arizona expanding on the Cubs competition for spots on the pitching staff.
According to Piniella, he regards it as a race between Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny, and, wait for it...Sean Marshall.
With that statement comes something of a drastic change in position, as the organization has long maintained that Marshall lacks the stamina to start, vacillating instead between using him in the bullpen out that fact, or as a matter of necessity.
I don't buy the argument; never have. While there is certainly a drop-off in statistics when Marshall starts (1.35 vs. 1.43 WHIP, for example), his numbers as a starter are on par with your expectations for a back-of-the-rotation guy, if not better.
Think I'm kidding? Take a look at some of the free agent class of 2007 for a comparison, which was the off-season after the year that Marshall broke into the majors. Needless to say, all were paid substantially more over the last few seasons than Sean.
Sean Marshall (as starter) - 4.86 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 6.1 SO/9
Jeff Suppan—4.69 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 4.9 SO/9
Adam Eaton—4.90 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 6.5 SO/9
Gil Meche—4.42 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 6.6 SO/9
Jason Marquis—4.40 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 5.2 SO/9
Get the point? I think the Cubs have. And if nothing else, it's a good signal that the on-field management doesn't feel the least bit obligated to assure acquisitions Gorzelanny and Silva of anything. I'm scoring one for Lou.