It's fair to say that when the Minnesota Twins front office inked Jason Marquis to a one-year, $3 million dollar contract, they didn't expect him to perform this poorly. Nobody expected Marquis to perform this poorly, even if they were against the contract in the first place.
Realistically, we all knew what kind of a signing this was when it happened, as we said at the time:
Marquis might be better than Brian Duensing or Anthony Swarzak, and he saves the Twins from having to take their long man and lefty specialist and put them in the rotation, but it's important to recognize this move for what it is: a holding pattern. He doesn't make the Twins contenders, but he may make them slightly less worse off. He allows Liam Hendriks to at least start the season in Rochester. And come October, whether he stuck all year or not, he'll enter the free agent market once again.
Obviously even the modest expectations set for by a "holding pattern" were let down. More walks than strikeouts; on pace to allow 53 home runs over a full 200-inning campaign; a .371/.434/.629 opponent triple slash. All very fast ways to crash and burn.
Nobody will say this move came too soon, even if it has come earlier than expected. The real question is: who takes his spot in the rotation? At SB Nation Minnesota, just this morning, I wondered who was going to take Nick Blackburn's spot and, possibly, Carl Pavano's. As of right now, it actually turns out that the only two starters we can pencil in for the next week are Scott Diamond and P.J. Walters.
Welcome to the Twilight Zone, my friends.
If you read my post at SB Nation Minnesota this morning, you'll know that I think Cole DeVries is next to be called up. After the jump we'll go over some of those other options to see when they last pitched. Could any of them be ready to step in by Thursday or Friday? Walters should go tomorrow (pitched Thursday), and Diamond should go Wednesday (pitched Friday).
Francisco Liriano: Threw one inning on Friday, two-thirds of an inning on Thursday, two innings one week ago. If the Twins need him to start on Thursday, he could. I'm not sure he will though, based off the placement of the pitchers below.
Liam Hendriks: Threw seven innings on Friday. If he gets called up and goes Thursday he'd be going on just one extra day of rest, which would be fine.
Cole DeVries: Threw eight innings on Saturday. He could also be available Thursday, which would push Hendriks to a week between starts. If it's DeVries and Hendriks that get called, it's likely that Liam would go Thursday and Cole Friday.
Anthony Swarzak: With possibly three rotation spots to fill, Swarzak seems much more likely of an option than he did this morning. He tossed two and a third innings on Sunday, plus one aand two thirds on Friday. He's also available for later this week.
Jeff Manship: He's a guy I didn't seriously consider this morning, and it's hard to include him now. He threw seven good innings for the Red Wings just today, which means at the earliest the Twins could start him on Saturday. If the team decides that under no circumstances is Liriano to start yet, maybe Manship gets a callup for the weekend.
Whatever happens in the next few hours, the Twins have roster moves to make. We'll talk more about those tomorrow, I imagine.