To Start or To Not to Start: Marquis Sounds off

March 02, 2008

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Ryan Neiman

To Start or To Not to Start: Marquis Sounds off

  Chicago Cubs pitcher Jason Marquis is competing for the final two spots in the starting rotation.  If he does not make the rotation, he would probably end up in bullpen.  In his first start during spring training he went 2 innings, gave up 2 runs, both earned, along with 3 hits.  However, it wasn't his arm that hurt his chances of winning a spot in the rotation.  Rather it was his mouth.  Jason Marquis does not feel he should be competing for a starting job.  He said he signed as a Cub because he thought he would be guaranteed a starter every year.  "That's my ultimate goal, that's how I think I help the team the most. Obviously, we'll see what happens when it's time for them to make their decision," Marquis told reporters.  Marquis was asked how he would feel if he did not make the rotation and ended up in the bullpen. he replied, " As much as I want to be here in Chicago, and I love it, I love the fans and the stadium, I also have a family to worry about, too.  I could take my services elsewhere if that's the case, and I could help another team in that capacity as a starter. My value doesn't lie in the bullpen in my mind."

  When Piniella was told about Marquis's comments, he did not sound too happy. 

"If that's the case, he can go somewhere else," Piniella said. "Win a spot in the rotation, you don't have to worry about it.

"I've got seven starters for five spots," he said. "It's a little bit too early to start talking about what he wants to do, or not do. I'm giving him a chance to compete and win a spot in the rotation. A little bit too early."

Even when Piniella was asked about Kerry Wood's and Bob Howry's performance today, he shifted back Marquis comments.

"You know, that galls me about Marquis, it really does," Piniella said. "I'm not pleased with that comment at all. We've had a good camp over here, everybody's getting an opportunity to go out and win a spot in the rotation. Nobody's going to stand in your way. That's the easy way out."

These comments by Marquis will not go by Piniella easily.  He is a tough manager who believes you have to earn it if you want it.  Though Marquis has 54 wins in the last four seasons, he has not become a dependable pitcher.  This is why he is in the spot he is in.  He always has a strong first half, but is never able to finish strong.  Marquis needs to go out there and prove he deserves a spot in the rotation.  He needs to convince Lou that he can finish strong.  If he did finish strong last year, he wouldn't be in this situation.  Marquis is giving a fair chance to win the spot and he was probably a front runner in one of the spots until the comments he made today.  Marquis knows what he needs to do.

"Obviously, I take the criticism from the people who have been through it and know what I need to work on," Marquis said. 

Marquis needs to go through the hard part, like fighting for a spot in the rotation, to know how he can improve his pitching.  Otherwise he might end up in the rotation where he hasn't been since 2003.  Asked again how he felt about possibly being in the bullpen, Marquis said, "We'll see what happens."

Lou Piniella will determine his fate while he was still furious over Marquis comments as he talked to reporters, "We've got seven guys here competing for a spot in the rotation, and everyone is going to get an equal chance. After the first start of Spring Training, saying if I'm not going to make the rotation, I'd like to go somewhere else, well, he can go somewhere else right now if he wants. How's that?"

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