Shaun Marcum has been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has reported.  Coming back to the Blue Jays is Brett Lawrie, a Canadian infielder who was rated by Baseball America as their second best prospect.

Marcum, at 28 years old, was the veteran and oldest member of the Jays starting pitching staff.  A third round pick in 2003, Marcum has pitched with the Jays his whole career. With a career 3.80 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, the starter was always known for his control rather than any ability to overpower a batter.

There were injury concerns with Marcum after he spent 2009 on the DL after elbow surgery.  He made a strong comeback in 2010, but there was always the chance that he could regress after pitching too many innings in his return.

Lawrie had a strong 2010 at Triple-A Huntsville, batting .285/.346/.451 with eight homers in 135 games.  Lawrie is known for his strong bat at second, but the 20-year-old will need to work on his defense to make to become a reliable second baseman at the Major League level.

This is the second trade that the Blue Jays have completed with the Brewers in a weeks time.  Earlier in the week acquiring relief pitcher Carlos Villanueva for a player to be named later.  This helps to shore up a bullpen that was heavily depleted in free agency, where they will possibly lose both Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg.

There is a chance that the Blue Jays acquired Lawrie as a trade chip to offer the Kansas City Royals for Zack Greinke, as they have had some preliminary talks.  

The question is that Greinke has Toronto on his no-trade list, so he would have to be asked to waive it if Toronto and Kansas City figured out a deal both sides were happy with.

The interesting thing to look at is this: the Blue Jays were considered by many to be close to contending for the playoffs on the strength of their pitching.  So do you give up some of that strength for a prospect who could still be a few years away?  Are they sacrificing the present to be that much stronger in the future?  

Did Anthopoulos want to sell high on a pitcher who had a great year, but could be classified as an injury risk?  In this deal, he acquired a prospect with a high potential ceiling to further build up for the future.

Do the Blue Jays think they have enough pitching right now with Kyle Drabek and Zach Stewart possibly making the big club next year.  Or, as was mentioned before, is there another potential deal in place to further increase the strength of the Jays’ starting five?

As the Winter Meetings get underway tomorrow, the Blue Jays are expected to be active buyers and sellers, and perhaps many of these questions will get answered this week.

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