As the trade deadline approaches, speculation continues to rise around the possibility of the Washington Nationals trading starting pitcher Jason Marquis.
Marquis, 32, is in the midst of a comeback season and his 8-4 record with a 3.92 ERA will look attractive to more than a few teams who are looking to bolster their rotation for the postseason stretch. On the Nationals side of the bargaining table, moving Marquis makes sense because he is still owed a good bit of money for the remainder of this season (whatever is left of the $7.5 million he is owed in 2011), and he is set to become a free agent this winter.
To sweeten the pot for Washington, they have several pitchers chomping at the bits for a chance to earn a spot in the rotation. Ross Detwiler and Tom Milone are both young starting pitchers desperate to earn a chance to prove themselves, and Brad Peacock has stormed his way through he minors this season as well. There is still the possibility that Stephen Strasburg could earn a few starts in September, and let’s not forget about the former 19-game winner the Nats have working his way back up through the system too.
If the Nationals do trade Marquis, it will probably be in exchange for a group of prospects. The club likely would love nothing more than save a few million dollars by trading the remainder of the right-hander’s contract, and using his spot in the rotation to test out prospects/rehabilitate former stars. It’s really a win-win situation for the Nats.
One suitor for Marquis could be the Arizona Diamondbakcs. According to ESPN’s Trade Rumors the team is looking to add a pitcher for their playoff run down the stretch. The Diamondbacks have been benefactors of one of the most effective starting rotations in baseball this summer, boasting four starters with an ERA below four this season. Unfortunately for Arizona, however, they don’t have a clear fifth guy to plug into their rotation, which is why Marquis could fit in perfectly.
In return, the Nationals would likely look for an outfield or pitching prospect who is not far away from the Major Leagues. One option could be Allen Pollock, and outfielder who is currently batting .306/.355/.443 with 23 SB for the Arizona’s Double-A affiliate. The former first round pick is just 23-years-old, but missed the entirety of 2010 after he injured his elbow in a minor league spring training game.
At this point, there is far more chatter about the potential of where Marquis could land, rather than who the club would want in return, which likely indicates a swap for prospects. Given the complete wash Marquis was in his first season with Washington, and the fact that the club likely won’t be able to compete in 2011, any return on the investment for the right-hander would be a good one.