Jason Marquis is back in the majors just two weeks after being released by the Twins for posting an 8.47 ERA in seven starts.
Marquis quickly signed a minor-league deal with the Padres, made one good start at Double-A, and will now join San Diego’s rotation tomorrow versus San Francisco.
As awful as Marquis looked in Minnesota–and there’s really no way to overstate how horrendously he pitched–going back to the National League and calling the majors’ most pitcher-friendly ballpark home is his best chance to rediscover some success.
He might be able to string together a dozen starts with a 4.50 ERA, which would be an upgrade over what the Padres got from fellow washed-up starter Jeff Suppan. And they’re on the hook for just a prorated share of the minimum salary, whereas the Twins paid $3 million for Marquis’ seven starts.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.