Twins and RHP Marquis agree to $3M, 1-year deal

Jason Marquis spent his entire 12-season career in the National
League before becoming a free agent this offseason. With the
Minnesota Twins in need of a fifth starter, he figured he’d give
the other circuit a try.

Marquis agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract with the Twins
on Thursday, and now he’s eager to take his sinker – and his
dangerous bat – to the American League full-time.

”Other than trying to lobby for some at-bats, I don’t think
it’s going to change much,” Marquis said.

Well, he won’t have the pitcher’s spot in the lineup to face
once every nine hitters, but he will get to pitch at spacious
Target Field, which has been one of the most difficult parks to hit
a homer in during its first two seasons of existence.

In the end, the Twins were looking for a veteran to help
stabilize the back end of a shaky rotation. They went with Marquis,
who missed the last month and a half of last season with a broken
right leg after he was hit by a line drive.

The 33-year-old Marquis went 8-5 with a 3.95 ERA for the
Washington Nationals last season before being traded to the Arizona
Diamondbacks on July 30. The right-hander was 0-1 with a 9.53 ERA
in three starts for Arizona.

”He’s a groundball machine and he throws the ball over the
plate,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said.

Marquis actually walks 3.5 batters per nine innings, which is a
little on the high side, especially by Twins standards. But the
sinkerballer induces a ton of grounders, and the Twins were looking
for somebody to come in after they traded Kevin Slowey to the
Rockies so they could move left-handed starter Brian Duensing to
the bullpen.

Ryan said that signing Marquis didn’t necessarily mean Duensing
was moving to the `pen, but it’s clear that is the team’s
preference. If everyone is healthy coming out of spring training,
the Twins think that is the best scenario.

”If they’re all healthy, that certainly fortifies our
bullpen,” Ryan said.

The expenditure brings the Twins’ payroll close to $100 million,
which was a soft target the team had before the offseason in its
effort to slash about $15 million.

”We’re closing in,” Ryan said. ”We’ve got a little wiggle
room here.”

Marquis can earn an additional $500,000 in performance
bonuses.

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