Three arguments in support of Lou Piniella's decision to name Jason Marquis part of the Cubs starting rotation on Monday:

-- He has pitched well this spring. Marquis has a 2.95 ERA in 18 innings this spring and retired 12 of 13 Padres during his start on Sunday..."Rotation Announcement Eve." Looks like his timing was good.

-- The Cubs are showcasing him in preparation for trading him. Along with Sean Gallagher, Ronny Cedeno, Donald Veal, Sean Marshall, Jose Ceda, Felix Pie, Tyler Colvin, Eric Patterson, Yosh Kowano, and Ronnie Woo-Woo, Marquis has been mentioned at various times in connection with Cubs' alleged efforts to land Brian Roberts from the Orioles.

-- Marquis is an effective early-season pitcher, so we might as well get a few good starts out of him before trading him or replacing him with an in-house alternative (e.g., Lieber or Marshall). In seven Major League seasons, Marquis's lifetime mark in 34 games (25 starts) in March or April is 11-7, with 104 striketouts, 68 walks (1.53 K:W ratio), and a 4.10 ERA.

In the other baseball months (over 228 games, 170 starts), Marquis is 57-54, with 557 K's, 360 walks (1.55 K:W ratio) and a 4.64 ERA.

Not as much of a difference as one might expect to see from a renowned "fast starter."

I'm hoping that the argument that dictated Piniella's decision was the second one.

I guess time--and Andy MacPhail--will tell.


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