Starting pitcher Jason Marquis of the Washington Nationals delivers to a Colorado Rockies batter during the third inning at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks Bolster Rotation With Nationals' Jason Marquis

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MLB Trade Deadline: Diamondbacks Add Jason Marquis To Rotation

We're still waiting for official word, but ESPN's Jim Bowden reports that the Nationals are trading Jason Marquis to the Diamondbacks, who are sending prospect Zach Walters to the Nationals.

Marquis will obviously slide right into Arizona's rotation, taking the slot held for most of the season by Barry Enright, recently demoted to Class AAA. With the D'backs' other four starters all featuring sub-4.00 ERAs, the club should have a consistent (if unspectacular) rotation as they try to catch the Giants down the stretch.

Zach Walters has moved up quickly. Just a ninth-round draft pick just one year ago, Walters batted .302/.338/.440 last summer in the short-season Northwest League, and has fared even better this season in the Class-A Midwest League. Previously a shortstop, Walters has been converted into a utility infielder, seeing time at second base and third base as well as short.

He's been compared to Geoff Blum, which seems strange for a 21-year-old in his second pro season. But there you go.


MLB Trade Rumors: Jason Marquis Trade To Diamondbacks 'Agreed On'

The Washington Nationals signed Jason Marquis to a two-year, $15 million contract before the 2010 season. He missed much of last year with elbow injuries, but has had a solid season in 2011, posting a 3.95 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 21 starts, while compiling an 8-5 W/L record. This is very much in line with his career before 2010, when he was a capable fourth/fifth starter for several teams, including the Braves, Cardinals, Cubs and Rockies.

Marquis has thus drawn considerable interest from contending teams looking for starting pitching help. Today, Jon Morosi tweets that he has apparently been traded:

Trade is agreed upon, source says: Jason Marquis to #Dbacks. #Nats

The Diamondbacks weren't expected to contend for a playoff spot before this season began, but are hanging in there in the NL West, four games behind the division-leading Giants, and they are also just 4.5 games out of the wild card lead. The first four pitchers in their rotation (Ian Kennedy, Josh Collmenter, Daniel Hudson and Joe Saunders) have been solid, but Arizona has had little luck with the fifth spot; Armando Galarraga, Zach Duke, Barry Enright and others have all been pretty bad.

Marquis brings something else to the table; he's a good hitter with a career BA of .199 and five home runs. Teams have also employed him as a pinch-runner, so he can serve as a sort of extra bench player.

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