Braves Notebook: Why Trade Marquis?

In the latest <B><I>Braves Notebook</B></I>, we discuss the JD Drew trade. While the spotlight thus far as been uber-prospect Adam Wainright - an often overlooked piece of the trade is RHP <B>Jason Marquis</B>, who could turn out to be quite the bargain for the Cardinals. <BR> <BR> <B>Plus</B> - Schuerholz on the Drew Trade, and news on 2004 Braves ticket prices.

Don't spend too much time wondering why the Braves, whose decade of division titles has been built on pitching, traded right-hander Jason Marquis to the Cardinals in the J.D. Drew-Eli Marrero deal.

Sure, Marquis has shown flashes of brilliance and mental toughness, but the Braves' veteran pitchers, not to mention pitching coach Leo Mazzone and manager Bobby Cox, got tired of his refusal to take their advice.

Plagued by a lack of consistency last season, Marquis found himself shipped back to Triple-A Richmond after he thought he'd be in the starting rotation. Beaten out in spring training for the fifth spot by Double-A pitcher Horacio Ramirez, Marquis slumped in the bullpen.

You'd think that lockering a few cubicles from Greg Maddux would lead a struggling pitcher to pick the certain Hall of Famer's brain.

You'd think that if another Cy Young winner, now mega-closer John Smoltz, spent 45 minutes after a game going over a CD of that very evening's shaky start with that struggling pitcher, the advice would be embraced.

You'd think that, wouldn't you?

Sure you would.

Marquis didn't.


-- RHP Antonio Alfonseca signed a one-year contract with the Braves. He is expected to be a setup reliever for closer John Smoltz.

-- The Braves aren't raising season-ticket prices and are adding additional perks for season ticket-holders, including discounts on merchandise. The team's season-ticket base has declined steadily since Turner Field opened for the 1997 season, and no-shows are the norm for weekday night games, particularly Monday nights. The most expensive full season ticket is $3,735 for what are called Dugout seats -- in reality a relatively large section not actually adjacent to the dugouts. The plan covers 83 games -- 81 regular-season games and two exhibition games against the Red Sox on April 2 and 3.

-- 1B Julio Franco, 45, has rejected arbitration, as previously agreed upon. The Braves are expected to sign Franco to a contract by the Jan. 8 deadline.

BY THE NUMBERS: .338 -- J.D. Drew's batting average with runners in scoring position last season with the Cardinals.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Drew is the perfect answer to our right-field situation." -- GM John Schuerholz.

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