In 2012, the Reds featured one of the most formidable rotations in the franchise's history. Four pitchers threw more than 200 innings with ERA+'s above 110. But dang, that was three seasons ago. Now, in 2015, 36-year-old Jason Marquis has won a spot in the starting rotation, according to John Fay. There are still nearly three weeks of Spring Training left, too. It's not even a competition.
I'm fully aware of how one could make waaaaaaaay too much of this. In fact, I think I probably am. But considering that, I think even a steady and measured analysis of this would result in the conclusion that this does not look good for a Reds' team that is supposedly trying to make a playoff run.
Jason Marquis did not pitch in the majors last season. He struggled through about 50 innings in the Phillies' organization. The last time he did anything that could be construed as successful in the majors was in 2009 when he posted a 4.10 FIP for the Rockies in 216 innings. That was 2009. That was six years ago. For some perspective, Barack Obama's hair was still black. Joey Votto was still an up-and-comer. Twitter was still a novelty.
Considering some of his questionable personnel decisions over the past few years, one could easily mash the B button on the assumption that Walt Jocketty is yet again enamored with one of his ol' Cardinal boys. To his credit, Miguel Cairo and Ryan Ludwick were actually kinda good. Marquis is much more like Skip Schumaker, unfortunately. He was never really good, and it has been a long time since he was even close to above replacement level. In fact, he has accrued (debited?) -2.9 bWAR since that 2009 season.
This guy is washed up. Of course, I suppose there is a possibility that the Reds are seeing something from him this spring that gives them reason to believe that he is miraculously not terrible at pitching anymore. But we all know just how likely that possibility is.
This is so upsetting to me for a few reasons. One, I think they have better alternatives on staff. They just shifted Tony Cingrani to the bullpen, which I mean I guess okay. Maybe he's better suited for the 'pen. But there is also David Holmberg, Dylan Axelrod, Daniel Corcino, Paul Maholm, or pretty much anybody else, to be honest. This guy sucks and the Reds are pitching him anyway. That sucks.
I think what's even more upsetting is seeing just how far this rotation has fallen over the last few years. I guess I knew that trading off Alfredo Simon and Mat Latos this winter signaled a sea change, but I didn't realize it was actually a massively destructive tidal wave leaving only a pile of Jason Marquis-shaped detritus in its wake. That's the real sucks part.