Heading into the 2003 offseason the Braves needed an outfielder. Coming off a 101-win season in which they won their 12th of 15 consecutive division titles, their season ended in a NLDS loss to the Cubs. Third baseman Vinny Castilla wasn’t coming back to the team, and the plan was to move Chipper Jones to the hot corner. They were able to acquire J.D. Drew from the Cardinals, who hit a career high .305/.436/.569 in 2004 before departing in free agency that offseason. In return they had to send former first round draft pick Adam Wainwright to St Louis, who has a 3.17 ERA and two World Series titles in 11 seasons with the Redbirds.
I don’t think anyone refers to that as “The J.D. Drew Trade.” Likewise, soon enough, nobody will call last January’s deal that brought German Marquez over from the Tampa Bay Rays “The Corey Dickerson Trade.”
Nobody thought this would be the case back in January, especially considering the major league talent that swapped teams, but there were hints that German Marquez could flip the narrative of the deal. He started the year in Double-A Hartford and impressed almost immediately.
On May 8 he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, allowing no runs on two walks and one hit with eight strikeouts in eight innings. On July 28, he did it again, losing the no-hitter and the shutout with two-outs in the eighth inning. He earned a spot in the Eastern League All-Star game and was later named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year thanks to his 2.85 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 126 strikeouts and 33 walks in 135⅔ innings. It truly was a breakout campaign for the 21-year-old Venezuelan, who was rewarded for his efforts with an August promotion to Triple-A Albuquerque and then a September call-up to the major leagues.
His time in The Show was brief: three relief appearances in mop up duty followed by a couple of spot starts. It wasn’t until the last game of the season that German Marquez fully introduced himself to Rockies fans.
Granted, it was against the Milwaukee Brewers, one of the worst offensive teams in baseball—and without star outfielder Ryan Braun—but they're still major league hitters and Marquez was in Double-A two months prior. All he did was strike out seven and walk just one, mixing in what is considered to be a rapidly improving change-up with a curve that sits in the low 80s, and a fastball that touches 96. He allowed two runs on six hits, but were it not for centerfielder Charlie Blackmon losing a fly ball in the sun, he may have left the game with a shutout intact.In going six plus innings Marquez earned the 78th quality start of the season for the Rockies, the tenth Rockies starter to do so in 2016. The start served as proof of the talented pitching depth the Rockies have down on the farm and, more significantly, the value is capable of contributing in the future.
German Marquez is likely to enter spring training as a candidate for the fifth starter spot in the Rockies rotation along with Jeff Hoffman and Chris Rusin. Marquez still has his rookie eligibility and has only spent a month at Triple-A, which, if recent examples like Jon Gray and Hoffman are any indication, is less than the Rockies likely want to see him there. Odds are he starts the season in Albuquerque and stays there either until the roster depth is exhausted or he forces his way to Denver.