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TwinsCentric: Marquis out. Who should replace him?

Posted by: Nick Nelson Updated: May 22, 2012 - 12:28 AM

No surprise here, but the Twins have reportedly designated Jason Marquis for assignment after the veteran was tagged by the Brewers for eight runs while recording only five outs on Sunday.

Marquis has never been a particularly good pitcher and I certainly wasn't high on his signing at the time, but I wouldn't have guessed he'd be the worst starter in baseball. From the moment he showed up to spring training, Marquis had nothing; he struggled to get the ball over the plate and when he did hitters went to town. As Parker pointed out on Twitter, the veteran ranked last in the majors in FIP, HR/9, swinging strike rate and first-pitch strike rate.

Marquis' dismissal was more than warranted, but it opens yet another hole to plug in the rotation. There a number of replacement options, yet none are overly appealing. Anthony Swarzak has been working long relief and could be stretched out quickly, but he's best suited for where he's at. The same goes for Brian Duensing, who really seems to have found his calling as a lefty specialist.

The Twins may consider recalling Liam Hendriks, who was demoted to Triple-A after posting a 9.00 ERA in four starts for Minnesota but has allowed only four runs on 10 hits in three turns since returning to Rochester. It's not uncommon for a young starter to get knocked around then head down to the minors to make some tweaks, returning later in the season with greater confidence (Kevin Slowey in 2007 is a good example).

Another option would be Cole DeVries, a 27-year-old right-hander who's been moderately successful in Triple-A. Although he's a nice story as a local guy from Eden Prairie, I don't think DeVries is a likely candidate to succeed in the majors as he's a soft-tosser with a 1.41 career WHIP in Triple-A. But perhaps the Twins feel differently.

Personally, I'd be in favor of adding Anthony Slama – who has struck out 20 batters over 11 2/3 scoreless innings in his past 10 appearances at Triple-A, where his ERA sits at 0.45 – to the 40-man roster and getting him up in the bullpen, sliding either Swarzak or Duensing into the starting corps. It's not ideal, but "ideal" has pretty much flown out the window at this point. At least Swarzak and Duensing are reasonably good bets to hold their own as a No. 5 starter and the Twins could finally get an extended look at what they have in Slama.

What move(s) would you make in the aftermath of the Marquis news?


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