Five Moves the Chicago Cubs Should Make...But Probably Won't: Conclusion

Damen JacksonCorrespondent INovember 12, 2008

Filed:Nov. 13th, 2008

Jason Marquis (Cubbie Nation - File) 


Retain Jason Marquis

Yeah, I said it. I've combed the rumors mills, headlines, scouting reports, and fan blogs to a length that I'm embarrassed to admit in search of a soft landing spot for Jason Marquis.

Soft as in a good situation, with a trading partner willing to offer something that resembles a decent return. To the Mets for Duaner Sanchez. To the Rangers for Kameron Loe. Even to the Giants for Randy Winn. Well, a Winn swap makes sense, but that's another post.

The fact is, I see the Cubs in virtually all instances having to eat about $2 million to consummate a trade, and—barring a surprise in the market or package deal—I think he stays. Or at least should.

It's not that he's a terrible player, you know. He's just so...average. And average even would be fine, were it not for the ludicrous 3/21 contract that Jim Hendry gave Marquis before the 2007 season. Pretty hefty numbers for a guys coming off of a season that ended with him carrying a 6.00 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.

But he did, leaving Cubbie Nation to wonder not only why the Cubs bid against themselves, but what could have been in improving the team with that payroll flexibilty back.

In reality though, maybe Jim had a little hindsight, given the insane contracts doled out to pitchers since. $20 million to Scott Linebrink, as a middle reliever? Kyle Lohse grabbing $40 million? Carlos Silva worth $50 million? Hell, even Ryan Dempster now thinks he's worth $75 million dollars. It's nuts.

The market for pitching has deteriorated to the point where Juan Cruz may see a huge payday this offseason. If I thought that the Cubs could pluck from somewhere 200 innings of league-average work for less than $8 million to replace Jason with, I'd say move him. However, I don't. Maybe Bartolo Colon or Randy Wolf, but why chance it?

Fortunately, the good news is that now that Marquis has been seeing a sports psychologist to address his late-season debacles, he appears to be a bit more solid overall.

And given that this is a contract season for him as well, I say hold. I suspect that with the Peavy deal probably being a smokescreen, and with Dempster and the Cubs at a contractual impasse, the team may actually need him.