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Marquis and Figueroa: Who’s the Perfect Fit?



By Howard Megdal ~ November 18th, 2009. Filed under: Howard Megdal.

I won’t deny it; I like a bargain. And to be clear, that doesn’t mean buying the cheapest possible item. It means getting the same value that an expensive item provides for a much lower price.

In other words, it doesn’t mean getting Karim Garcia and Shane Spencer instead of Vladimir Guerrero.

It does mean, however, getting Nelson Figueroa instead of Jason Marquis.

Marquis told Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post that he’d be a “perfect fit” for New York, and wants to come pitch for the Mets.

Most believe the bidding for Marquis could run to around two years, $16 million, with a third year likely the key to getting him.

So let’s compare him to Nelson Figueroa, who will likely be available on a minor-league deal.

Marquis pitched to a 4.04 ERA last year, Figueroa to a 4.09 ERA. Marquis’s FIP was 4.10, Figueroa’s 4.31. Bill James has Marquis’s 2010 projected ERA at 4.37, Figueroa’s at 4.58. And with strikeout rate the best indicator of future success- Marquis was at 4.8 per nine innings in 2009, Figueroa at 7.55- a monumental edge to Figueroa.

But Marquis is a hometown pitcher!

So is Figueroa.

Marquis is durable!

Figueroa has pitched everywhere, year-round, season after season. He’s the definition of durability.

So why exactly would the Mets hand Jason Marquis 2/16 or 3/24, when Figueroa can be plugged into the rotation for far less than that, with only a one-year guarantee, and garner similar results?

It will only happen if the Mets don’t like a bargain. And fans who want the Mets to spend indiscriminately should remember: if the team gets Figueroas instead of Marquises (how does one pluralize Marquis?!?), when the time comes, they can acquire Guerreros instead of Spencers and Garcias.

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Howard Megdal is the Editor-in-Chief of The Perpetual Post. He covers baseball, basketball and soccer for Capital New York, MLBTradeRumors.com, New York Baseball Digest and has written for ESPN.com as well as numerous other publications. He is the Poet Laureate for SBNation New York. His book about Jewish baseball players, “The Baseball Talmud,” is available for purchase on Amazon.com and wherever books are sold. His next book, "Taking The Field", is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and will publish in May 2011.

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10 Responses to Marquis and Figueroa: Who’s the Perfect Fit?

  1. Daniel

    I agree with you. Figueroa is consistent enough to be a 5th starter. Over the life of a three year contract I wouldn’t expect Marquis to be much better than Figueroa.

    My question is this. How do you explain Figueroa being DFA’d twice last season and not one team claiming him.

    What are you and I missing?

  2. MetsPubRec

    I had Jason Marquis on my fantasy baseball team this past season. He started off strong. However, after the All-Star break, my overall pitching numbers in hits and ERA saw some significant damage. I’m not accusing anyone but perhaps Marquis had a hand in the noticeable jump in hits and ERA.

    Experts, such as Hubbuch, are still defending the native NYer’s bloated numbers with the fact that for the last three seasons, Marquis has pitched in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field and the Rocky Mountain high of Coors Field.

    I respect your plea for a bargain. Unfortunately, the league isn’t as high on Figgy as they are on Marquis. I, personally, would stay away from the S.I. native.

  3. Howard Megdal

    Gentlemen,

    You cannot assume a rational marketplace. That’s how I explain it. When two sides of the argument are (and this often happens) one side with empirical data, the other saying “but all these teams felt a certain way”, the correct side usually turns out to be the first one.

  4. hdarvick

    Just remember that Nelson Figueroa was DFA’d in April and May when he was used in relief and as a spot starter, never in the rotation. After becoming part of the rotation replacing Santana on August 25th, Nelson Figueroa allowed 18 earned runs in 50.1 innings (3.22 ERA), going 2-6, averaging 6 1/3 innings per start. In his 6 losses, the Mets scored a total of 11 runs. If you eliminate his first Atlanta game, in 7 of his 8 starts in the rotation, he allowed 12 earned runs in 45.1 innings (2.38 ERA). He led the team in strikeouts in September. That’s why he wasn’t claimed after being DFA’d in April and May. He’s now a free agent. He’d like to sign a Mets contract but don’t you think another team may look at his stats and offer him a contract as their #4 or #5 pitcher? And his age (35) does not matter. Just looking at age and not ability, Figueroa is younger than Pettite and Mariano and they did quite well for their age in 2009.

  5. R U Kidding

    Geesh! How many games did MarQuis win last year? How many games has Figueroa won in his career? Competition! Don’t just line up 5-6 guys to be starters. The Mets need to sign two starters. Then it’s Santana, the new guys, and let Pelfrey,Maine,Perez,Neise and if you want Parnell and figgy battle it out for the two remaining spots. A little competition might bring out the best in all of them!

  6. hdarvick

    You’re right. Only Santana and the #2 starter the Mets will sign should, as of now, definitely be in the 2010 rotation. I don’t think the Mets will sign 2 starters when they also need a power hitting left fielder (and/or a 1st baseman). Let Pelfrey,Maine,Perez,Neise, and Figueroa battle it out for the three remaining spots. I think Parnell will remain in the bullpen. But don’t you think Figgy should be signed to a 2010 Mets contract now before he’s made an offer he can’t refuse to be in another team’s starting rotation? A million or two for a year with an option for 2011 would be fine. And we know he can pitch in relief, short or long (4.1 shutout innings vs St. Louis after Niese got hurt in the 2nd inning). Sign Figgy now before it’s too late.

  7. Rex

    Figueroa has been “Labaled” a AAAA for his whole career, yet he is anything but. He had arm troubles early in his career that prevented him from rising to the next level and essentially has had to fight for his basbeall life ever since. Every start Nelson has made, with the exception of the last few of 2009, has been with the thought in mind that he might not make another one. When that “fear” was gone, you saw the best pitcher the Mets had, not named Santana. If you remove that 1.2 debacle vs. Arizona on August 2nd, Nelson pitched to the tune of a 2.96 ERA in August and September. He is the definition of a #5 starter because he can give you innings, doesn’t need to work on regular rest and can pitch out of the bullpen if necessary. If you look at his year, he pitched better then Pelfrey, Perez, Redding, Nieve, Hernandez and most of the bullpen…yet he is a forgotten man.

    The man has a rubber arm, baseball smarts, and most of all “is one of us”. He is a Brooklyn guy who grew up a Met fan and who has EARNED a spot on this team next year.

  8. Rex

    I forgot about Parnell because…well he stinks and should be in the Pen.

  9. Anonymous

    i would like them both

    give me santana, marquis, figgy, pelfrey, maine
    and we are good

  10. Josh

    Figueroa will be 36 next year and has never been a starter in the Majors for the simple reason that he would get exposed over the course of 30 starts. His 7 K/9 would also go down if he logged more innings. He’s the cheaper option. But certainly not the better option.

    Marquis is 31 and is durable. You can pencil him in for 30 starts and 200 innings. He pitched well at Coors Field last year. It stands to reason that a sinker baller who pitches half his games at a cavernous park like Citi Field would do well. And unlike Mike Pelfrey, Marquis won’t be useless on the road.

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