The Cubs made it official the other day – completing a trade with the Colorado Rockies that sent Jason Marquis to Coors Field in exchange for veteran reliever Luis Vizcaino. The move was done primarily to free up salary room to sign left-handed hitting outfielder Milton Bradley – who is expected to sign a 3-year, $30 million deal later this week.
Marquis won 23 games during his 2 MLB seasons with the Cubs, but his high ERA – 4.57 – ended up making the move inevitable. The Cubs will pay $875,000 of the $9,875,000 owed to Marquis during the 2009 MLB season.
On the flip side, the Cubs only have to pay Vizcaino $4 million for the 2009 season, creating a savings of approximately $5 million for the Cubs. Vizcaino made 43 relief appearances for the Rockies in 2008. He was 1-2 with a dismal 5.28 ERA. In 10 MLB seasons, Vizcaino has a career 4.34 ERA. Cubs scouts have indicated that Vizcaino still has legitimate major league velocity left on his fastball, and if he can avoid injuries, he will likely get ample work in the 6th and 7th innings for the Cubs in 2009.
With the trade of Marquis, the Cubs now had a void to fill for the 5th spot in the starting rotation. Sean Marshall is probably the front-runner to land the spot (he started 24 games in 2006, 19 games in 2007 and 7 games in 2008). Angel Guzman, Kevin Hart and Chad Gaudin could also be possible replacements. Jeff Samardzija pitched so well in the bullpen during the 2008 MLB season that he will likely be considered for the set-up role in front of Carlos Marmol, instead of for a spot in the starting rotation.