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Thursday Rockpile: Jason Marquis third starter in name only

So the good news is that Jason Marquis' 2009 ERA sits at 0.00 just like everybody else's. The bad news would be that yesterday's monstrosity of an outing, one that's closer to the norm of what we've seen of him this Spring than not, does little to inspire any confidence that it will stay within five digits of that zero figure for very long. Honestly, we'd like some sign to be confident that he could keep it within ten digits. Last Spring with the Cubs, Marquis had a 1.93 ERA in 14 IP, in 2007 he had a 5.40 ERA in 18 IP, and in 2006 he was at 1.96 in 23 IP with the Cardinals, so you can't say that he's been one of those pitchers that's just getting his pitches in this time of year. Of course, maybe 2009 is different and he now is one of those pitchers like Jim Tracy and Yorvit Torrealba suggest. Spring Training is just that way sometimes.

While some worry over what Marquis will bring to the Rockies this season may be merited, what I don't want to read today are any comments that are to the effect of "He's supposed to be the third starter, the Rockies are doomed."

From Renck:

Third starter Jason Marquis couldn't spot his pitches, delivering a performance that creates concern, even from some teammates, about a rotation that has been uneven behind Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez.

When fans use these labels as a jumping off point for criticism drives me crazy. Marquis is not and never has been anything more than a bottom of the rotation starter, regardless of who he pitches before or after, and the argument that because the Rockies positioned him in the third slot means that they think that they'll win with him as their third best starter this season is either willfully manipulative or plain ignorant.

As well informed fans we should know going in that the Rockies best hope for a competitive 2009 is and always has been that Marquis winds up as no better than the fifth best starter on the team. Rather, that Franklin Morales and/or Jorge De La Rosa (or whoever winds up in those slots) rise to their potential and perform at the third starter caliber. What we would need from Marquis in 2009 in that case is lots of innings with roughly between a 4.85 to 5.25 ERA season depending on how well the aforementioned pair of LHP's do. Limit your fretting over Jason to that he won't meet these low expectations, not that he's an insufficient replacement for Jeff Francis.

This of course means that Renck's concerns in the next paragraph over what Frankie Mo' and JDLR have been up to are certainly justifiable, though and that's where we should really be focusing. I just want to get that peeve of mine of using "third starter" every time in conjunction with Marquis out of the way. While not an ideal situation, it's Cook/Jimenez and then a shifting landscape in the next three slots. Being too tied to a clearly defined heirarchy is only likely to make you miss where the Rockies real opportunity lies.  

Joe Koshansky's shagging flies in a bid to increase his chances for an MLB job, no word if Marquis' performance has inspired him to take up pitching again, though.

Sure, the survivor's are saying Camp Hurdle's been great so far, but that's just because they haven't noticed all the missing guys from the machete wielding psychopath making them pay for all their Tulopalooza sins. You seem like you may be next Pods. Actually, the article mostly winds up being about the Rox getting ready to flee Tucson to never return.