Justin Marks is Just Not Necessary for the Royals
By David Hill
The Kansas City Royals have a few problems. First, Lorenzo Cain is on the disabled list for what seems to be his annually scheduled time off. Then there is Bruce Chen, who has already had his start pushed back to tomorrow due to a literal pain in the backside. These issues would seem to have an easy solution – call up a player that could play in the outfield if needed and keep Danny Duffy ready if Chen is either unable to pitch on Saturday or has to leave early. This is not exactly rocket science.
Feb 24, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Justin Marks poses for a portrait during photo day at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Instead, the Royals brought up Justin Marks, a pitcher with a pedestrian 4.49 ERA and a 1.420 WHiP in his minor league career. At age 26, Marks has spent parts of the last three seasons at the AAA level, where he has posted an even worse 5.03 ERA and a 1.548 WHiP. Although Marks generates a solid amount of strikeouts, with a career 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings, he also has averaged almost four walks per nine innings as well. He simply appears to be minor league filler, potentially earning a brief cup of coffee in the majors at some point later in his career.
Yet, that point is now. As Hunter posted earlier today, this is just another one of the curious roster moves that the Royals have made over the past couple of months. Why is it that the Royals considered Marks so important to bring on to the roster now, leaving the Royals with two bench players and Brett Hayes?
Unless the Royals and Ned Yost are so concerned with having Duffy available to face left handed hitters late in the game, it is hard to see what Justin marks provides that Duffy does not. The Royals already had someone on their roster who handle a long relief role, and may end up eventually taking a spot in the rotation later on this season.
In fact, the Royals have already been using Duffy in that role, pitching him for two innings in each of his appearances. Since Duffy spent all of Spring Training competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, and had a start in the minors, it is hardly inconceivable that he would be able to pitch three or four innings if needed.
Instead, the Royals have brought up Justin Marks, leaving the rest of us to wonder why.