The Minnesota Twins finally addressed their starting rotation woes by signing 33-year-old RHP Jason Maquis to a one-year deal worth $3 million.
Marquis brings a veteran presence to the Twins, who were near the bottom of the league in ERA and strikeouts pitched. The Twins will be Marquis' seventh team in 13 seasons, but is joining his first AL club.
Marquis is looking to regain his 2009 form when he was an All-Star for the Colorado Rockies. He was 11-6 with a 3.45 ERA at the All-Star break. Marquis struggled in the second half, finishing the season 15-13 with a 4.04 ERA.
Marquis joined the Washington Nationals prior to the 2010 season with high expectations. After starting 0-3 with an ERA north of 20.00, Marquis was diagnosed with bone chips in his elbow and went under the knife. He returned in August and improved with each start, but still finished 2-9 with a 6.60 ERA.
In 2011, Marquis was 8-5 with a 3.95 ERA before being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in July. Two weeks later, Marquis' season was ended by a broken fibula.
Marquis is essentially a poor man's Carl Pavano, who also plays for the Twins. Marquis pitches to contact and eat innings, starting at least 29 games and pitching 190-plus innings in every season except one from 2004-2009. Marquis was also one of the more consistent pitchers during that time span, being only one of six pitchers to win at least 11 games a season during that span.
Marquis, who won a Silver Slugger in 2005 after batting .305 with a home run and 10 RBI, is also willing to be called on to pinch hit if needed.
Marquis will likely fight for the fifth spot in the Twins starting rotation behind Pavano, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano and Nick Blackburn. Brian Duensing, who struggled in 2011 after a strong 2010 season, would likely move to the bullpen.
Duensing was 7-2 with a 3.45 ERA after moving to the rotation in 2010 verses 9-14 with a 5.23 ERA in 2011. Duensing would help shore up a new-look bullpen who will be without Joe Nathan and Jose Mijares.
If Baker and Blackburn, who had minor offseason surgery, aren't ready to go by Spring Training, Duensing would be inserted into their spot in the rotation.
The Twins will look to add more pitching help to the bullpen after it finished with the worst ERA in the Majors last season.
Fun Jason Marquis Trivia
He gave up Sammy Sosa's 600th home run. Marquis later wore Sosa's 21 with the Cubs after Sosa was traded to Baltimore in 2005.
Marquis set the record for consecutive postseason appearances while pitching for at least three teams from 2000 to 2009. He pitched for Atlanta (2000-03), St. Louis (2004-06), Chicago Cubs (2007-08) and Colorado (2009).
The streak ended in 2010 with the Washington Nationals, but began again in 2011 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Twins fans can only hope that he can keep the streak alive in 2012.