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There is No Sunken Treasure Rumored to Be: Looking Behind the Rockies' Trade for Jason Marquis

As we know, the Cubs and Rockies have agreed to a trade by which the Rockies are receiving pitcher Jason Marquis. 

According to this story from our friend Joel Sheman, the Rockies wanted to trade for Jason Marquis because:

Marquis is among the majors' best hitting pitchers and Rockie officials think that will give him a distinct advantage in the offensive haven that is Coors Field.

Hmmm.  More of an advantage than, say, pitching well?  Marquis had a good season with the bat last year, OPSing .598, which was well above his career number of .533.  That was worth about -4 batting runs to the Cubs.  Jeff Suppan was almost exactly an average hitting picher, and put up a .349 OPS last season in 3 fewer plate appearances than Marquis.  Suppan was worth -8.3 batting runs to the Brewers.  So between Marquis and the average hitting pitcher, you've got about 4.3 runs in difference, or almost half a win over a full season of plate appearances.  I wouldn't exactly call that a "distinct advantage" considering Marquis will be taking his sub-5 K/9 and terrible 1.30 K/BB ratios to Coors field, which isn't known for helping pitchers who put the ball in play.  Marquis is no longer anything resembling a groundball pitcher, so that won't help him either.  Throw in the fact that he will be blocking pitchers (Franklin Morales, Greg Smith, Greg Reynolds, Jorge De La Rosa) who are as good or better than him and much younger and cheaper.  Not exactly worth the $9 million the Rockies will be paying him (though they did clear Luis Vizcaino's salary out of the deal). 

Thanks to Wilco's amazing song Sunken Treasure off their double album Being There, which is both my favorite Wilco record and my favourite Peter Sellars' Sellers movie.