Tag: Shaun Marcum

MLB Free Agency: 9 Best Potential Bargains Still Available

The latest free-agent buzz in Major League Baseball has surrounded three clients of Scott Boras, all currently left out in the cold of winter with spring training fast approaching.

Rafael Soriano, Kyle Lohse and Michael Bourn have yet to find new homes this offseason, in large part because all three are attached to draft-pick compensation after their former employers extended them qualifying offers.

Ultimately, Boras may get his clients the paydays they are seeking. However, unless the signing teams finished in the bottom ten in the overall standings last season, it’ll cost them a first-round pick to sign any of the Boras guys.

Rather than pony up the big bucks and a first-round pick, most teams would be wise to do their remaining winter shopping in the bargain aisles.

Need another outfielder but don’t want to shell out for Bourn? Scott Hairston remains available.

Need another starting pitcher but aren’t quite sold on Lohse as a frontline guy? Jeff Karstens, Shaun Marcum or Joe Saunders can provide value in the middle of your rotation for a reasonable sum.

And, if you need another right-handed reliever, Kyle Farnsworth, Matt Lindstrom, Vicente Padilla or Brandon Lyon can pitch at the back-end of your bullpen.

Finally, in a tepid second-base market, Kelly Johnson remains available with virtually no reported interest to this point in the offseason.

(All statistics are from Baseball Reference and all contractual data is from Cot’s Baseball Contracts).

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MLB Free Agents 2013: Why the Chicago Cubs Should Try to Sign Shaun Marcum

The 2013 offseason has been relatively busy for the Chicago Cubs.

Despite the fact that the Cubs are still in a rebuilding phase, they went out and signed starting pitchers Scott Baker (h/t ESPN Chicago) and Edwin Jackson (h/t ESPN Chicago).

Scott Baker will be looking to bounce back in Chicago after missing some of 2011 and all of 2012 with an injury.

Edwin Jackson was brought in to help round out Chicago’s rotation and eat up some innings for the next four years.

Now, general manager Jed Hoyer would be smart to go out and sign Shaun Marcum.

But why?

They’ve already signed two starting pitchers this offseason and Marcum probably won’t help carry them to the postseason this year.

He would, however, provide another stable arm to help improve Chicago’s starting rotation.

Marcum has posted an ERA of 3.70 or lower in each of his past four seasons (spanning from 2008-2012, as Marcum did not play in 2009).

His WHIP has been below 1.20 in three of those four years, and his record comes in at 42-26 over that span.

The 31-year-old would also add another veteran presence to the Chicago Cubs, and could remain an effective pitcher for the next several years—especially if the Cubs are able to compete by 2015 or 2016.

With his statistics, Marcum would also jump Edwin Jackson (whose ERA and WHIP have both been higher than Marcum‘s) for the second spot on the Cubs’ depth chart.

If Chicago thinks it’s wise to bolster their rotation this offseason, signing Shaun Marcum would be just as good of a move as the signings of Baker or Jackson as it seemingly shows no downside whatsoever.

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2013 MLB Free Agents: Underrated Pitchers Who Will Provide Good Value

Zack Greinke, Hiroki Kuroda and Kyle Lohse are among the most coveted free-agent starting pitchers on the market this offseason. While those stars will surely help whatever rotation they join, not every team will be able to afford to chase them.

Luckily, there are several other options that should be available in a more reasonable price range. They aren’t on the same level as the three names mentioned above in terms of ability, but they should still provide terrific value.

Let’s take a glance at three starters that should fall into that category.


1. Brandon McCarthy

The last time baseball fans saw McCarthy on the mound, he was struck by a line drive—an extremely scary moment for everybody involved. Thankfully, he was recently cleared for baseball activity and should be ready for roll for 2013.

McCarthy has been widely overlooked for quite some time because today’s stat-centric baseball world loves pitchers who strike out a lot of batters, which he doesn’t do. Yet he’s posted an ERA below 3.35 for two straight seasons.

The 29-year-old starter relies on terrific control (less than two walks per nine innings) and good pitch variation to keep hitters off-balance. As long as he remains healthy, he’s the perfect target for a team looking to fill a No. 3 spot in its rotation.


2. Shaun Marcum

Marcum is a high-upside target who also presents some risk. He has only topped the 200-inning mark once during his career and is coming off a season in which he made just 21 starts. Giving him a contract would be based on the hope he can stay healthy.

That said, a quick look at his numbers will show why he’s worth taking a chance on. The right-hander has not posted an ERA above 3.70 since becoming a full-time starter in 2008. Just as impressive, his strikeout rate was nearly eight batters per nine last season.

He finished the season healthy and should enter spring training in good shape after having the winter to rest any lingering issues. If he goes on to make a full complement of starts next season, he will be viewed as a major free-agent steal.


3. Carlos Villanueva

Villanueva is another interesting case. He has never made more than 16 starts in a season. Instead, he’s been used mostly as a swingman between the rotation and bullpen over the past few seasons. But now he wants a guaranteed spot in the rotation, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.

Judging by his performance during July and August last season for the Toronto Blue Jays, it’s an agreement teams will probably be willing to make. He was Toronto’s best pitcher over that span, including a 4-0 record with a 1.93 ERA in July.

The biggest concern is control (3.3 walks per nine), but every pitcher outside the top tier is going to have at least one flaw. Given his high strikeout rate and periods of dominance last season, he’ll be a tremendous rotation filler for next season.


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Milwaukee Brewers Acquire Sergio Mitre: Smart Move or Stupid Mistake?

It was recently announced that the Milwaukee Brewers acquired Yankees’ pitcher Sergio Mitre in a deal that sent outfielder Chris Dickerson to New York in return.

At the moment, this seems like a win-win situation for both teams: New York announced that Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia will round out the rotation, and Bartolo Colon will move to the bullpen, most likely as a long reliever, a role which Mitre possessed last season.

Dickerson, on the other hand, has seemed like a bit of a nuisance for the Brewers. At age 28, he was acquired from Cincinnati in the deal that sent Jim Edmonds there from Milwaukee. Once in Milwaukee, he posted a very slight .206/.250/.268 split last season, though he was a bit in 2009, where he posted a .275/.370.373 split. However, he’s still only 28, so he’s got time to develop.

This is hailed as a smarter move for the Brewers, whose rotation is currently suffering. Zack Greinke is currently on the DL due to a cracked rib and will miss a handful of starts at the beginning of the season, and Shaun Marcum, who was acquired from the Blue Jays this offseason is experiencing some shoulder issues, though he will only miss one regular season start, which is good news for Brewers fans.

Because of these issues, the Brewers are lacking some depth.

Yovani Gallardo, who has been an outstanding pitcher for the Brewers and is currently predicted to pitch 219 strikeouts this season, will most likely make the start on Opening Day, though the Brewers have yet to confirm who will start for them against the Reds for the season opener.

Slated to start after Gallardo for Opening Day weekend is Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson, respectively. While this currently doesn’t pose too many risks, the Brewers need a pitcher to fill the role.

This is most likely why they went after Mitre.

Mitre, who is 30 years old, has made at least one start each of the past seven seasons, but he has primarily served as a reliever in the past. Could this be his opportunity to become a starter again?

For right now, it looks like the Brewers plan on using him as a starter until Greinke is healthy again, and he could potentially be the long reliever once Greinke returns.

But is this really a smart move to make?

Mitre’s career record is 13-29, and his career ERA stands at 5.27. He’s posted a 1-1 record this spring training for the Yankees with a 5.73 ERA.

ERA that is consistently over five and a 31 percent win rate over his career? Are these the stats of a truly reliable pitcher?

While Mitre may get more opportunity in Milwaukee, there’s still not a lot of certainty with him as to whether he will succeed or fall.

Like Dickerson, Mitre still has time to develop in the minors if necessary, but that’s probably not the reason the Brewers pursued him.

Regardless of what role he plays, can Sergio Mitre get the job done in 2011?

Please share your thoughts. 

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Milwaukee Brewers: Will Shaun Marcum’s Injury Drag Him Down Again in 2011?

With the rash of injuries that have hit the Milwaukee Brewers this spring, Crew fans are wondering when it’s going to stop. 

It seems like it’s a case of “when it rains, it pours,” after Shaun Marcum left his start against the Chicago White Sox early.

After working three scoreless innings and only allowing one hit, Marcum complained of shoulder stiffness and was removed from the game.

He missed his next start and was shut down from throwing for almost a week.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke announced that Marcum would start on Saturday against the Mariners. The club is hoping the tightness he felt against the White Sox is just a small bump in the road to a huge season for Milwaukee.

With Zack Greinke out until at least the latter part of April, the Brewers can not afford to lose another front line starter from the staff.

Marcum has had experience with being injured. After a breakout year in 2007, arm problems in 2008 led to him being put on the Disabled List and sent down to the minor leagues.

In September, he was called up when the rosters expanded and seemed to be back in form. He was taken out of a start on September 19 of that year because of elbow pain.

The Jays soon released the information that Marcum would have to undergo Tommy John surgery and may miss the entire 2009 season.

He did not miss the entire year, but he pitched the whole season in the minor leagues. To prevent injury, he was shut down late in that season.

In March of 2010, Marcum was named the Opening Day starter, replacing Roy Halliday who had been traded.

He went on to win 13 games for the Blue Jays and prove himself to be the ace of that staff.

Will his injury linger and drag him down in 2011?

As of now, it appears he’s ready to take the mound again. The Brewers wouldn’t send him out if they had any concerns about his long term health.

The stiffness was in the shoulder area and not in the elbow, where his previous injury had been.

Milwaukee will get more answers Saturday, but for now, they seemed to have dodged a bullet.

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Shaun Marcum: One of Nine Key Players to Watch in 2k11

Shaun Marcum broke through in 2010. He finally suprassed 30 starts, albeit after missing 2009 entirely, and was a top 15 AL pitcher. With a nearly 4/1 K/BB ratio, a 1.15 WHIP, and less hits than innings pitched (in the AL East no less), Marcum showed he is ready for prime time.

Now, a year later, with the Jays in salary cutting mode after unloading Vernon Wells, Marcum finds himself a key member as a top three starter for the early season NL Central favorite Milwaukee.

Going from the AL to the NL almost always yields a substantial ERA and WHIP drop, but Marcum’s differentials should be even larger given his career six+ ERA vs NYY and mid-four ERA vs the Bosox. Facing Houston and Pittsburgh has done wonders for NL pitchers ERA’s for years, and this year will be no different.

The Brewers finished 14 GB of division winning Cincy last year, and a full nine games behind second place STL. The gap has been narrowed with STL simply because the loss of Wainwright should cost the Redbirds 5-6 wins off the top (not to mention the six+ WAR that Greinke adds to the Crew). Factor in Marcum and his 3.5+ WAR and you have yourself a race for the division. Hell, Marcum merely needs to maintain his K/BB ratio to go with 30+ starts and the Brewers will be in the race till the last week of the season.

The Marcsman flew under the radar last year in many regards, he didn’t lead the league in wins or k’s, he didn’t even pitch for a third place team, but he was pretty consistent in the toughest division in all of sports and now finds himself with even less pressure, going third (after Gallardo and Greinke) to start the year.

I expect a complete repeat of 2010 for Marcum, with at least 175 k’s to go with a sub 3.5 ERA and a sparkling 1.1 WHIP. Assuming he keeps his walks under 50 for the year, and he always has, the Brewers have a top three rivaling anyone in baseball, this side of the Phils. There is no team with three better righties than the triumvirate of Grienke/Gallardo/Marcum.



The Brewers have the second best offense in the NL, a top three rotation (after Phils and SF), a fantastic fan base who sells out games in September (I know because I was there). As long as the bullpen (which is question mark followed by question mark, especially when compared with Cincy’s pen) holds up, the Brewers will win the division.

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Toronto Blue Jays and Jose Bautista: Why They Will Both Fall Short in 2011

With all the hype and hope the Blue Jays injected into their fans with their play of last year, there is one thing everyone is forgetting when looking forward to this year. The simple way of putting it: they are going to fail this year.

Generally, I’m one to stick to the team and players and project big years from all involved. However, it seems like the doom and gloom media and fans have all either had a change of heart with Anthopoulos’ steady hand at the helm, or they have all finally given up.

I have given myself the task of dampening your spirits and predicting craziness again after having been called nuts by friends for saying before last season started the Jays would have a winning record.

It is easy enough for anyone to say or predict Bautista won’t be able to match last year’s offensive output. Few players are able to match those stats the very next year or ever in their career.  Bautista should get a minimum of 30 home runs and I wouldn’t even be shocked if he might crack the 40 again this year. Nonetheless, he and the Jays are in for a rude wake-up call.

With all the talk of the Yankees and Rays losing valuable players and taking steps back this offseason, we have somehow been blinded into thinking that we will perform better than we did last year. I agree with everyone in saying the gap has been shortened between us and the Yanks and Rays.

The fact of the matter remains that we have lost significant key players this past offseason. In offense alone we have seen 70 HR walk out of our clubhouse in Wells, Overbay and Buck. Even with improved seasons by both Hill and Lind we will still have lost close to 50 longballs.

Offense aside, we have lost steady reliable pitchers—Marcum from the starting rotation and Tallet and Downs from the bullpen. I purposely leave out Gregg, who himself was effective for us last year with his 30-plus saves.

Marcum was a very steady arm who had even impressed Halladay when he was around. Downs was as good as any late-inning left-handed reliever around. Tallet was a very solid, proven long-inning relief pitcher. Three veteran arms all gone.

The Blue Jays have amazing upside and have a very good chance of meeting last year’s wins. To say they can challenge for a playoff spot this year is going a long way. 

The Red Sox had pretty well every starter they had out with an injury at some point during the season, and most of them for more than a week. They had more man games lost last year than some divisions had! Okay, that might be stretching it a bit, but you get the idea.

Boston, you must remember, despite all those injuries was still able to finish four games ahead of a very healthy Blue Jays squad. A repeat of the hurt the Red Sox experienced last year is unlikely; a safe bet would be Red Sox division champs by a landslide.

The Yanks and Rays, although they have taken steps back with their overall starters, are probably only as bad as the injured Red Sox of last year! I would find it hard to believe they have slipped any lower than 90 wins in a year.

The Jays have a very bright future. This year will be a big year for everyone involved, but with growing comes growing pains. This team will find that with taking a step forward toward having a sustainable playoff team for years to come they have given sacrificed this year to being no more than mediocre.

The Jays will finish where they were last year—in fourth with about 85 wins.     

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2011 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Preview: Zack Greinke & The Milwaukee Brewers

With the 26th ranked ERA in the majors last year, the Brew Crew went to work this off-season to improve their rotation. Sought-after pitcher Zack Greinke is coming off a disappointing 2010, but was last year truly a fluke? Or will the Newer Brewer Shaun Marcum outpitch Greinke this season? It sure is getting exciting in Milwaukee this year.

Baseball’s 2009 AL Cy Young winner is heading to the National League. Greinke will take his 2008 and 2009 stellar years with him to Milwaukee to take on the rest of the NL Central. 

Greinke owners were annoyed all year by his shoddy numbers and lack of production. He went 10-14 in 220 IP with a 4.17 ERA and 181 strikeouts. 

What we can take away from last season was his strikeouts, low home run total, and consistent walk rate. Greinke was able to strikeout more that 180 batters last season, and also allowed less than 20 home runs despite his 4.17 ERA. Along with his 55 walks (56 in 2008 and 51 in 2009), it looks like Greinke can definitely rebound and have a successful 2011 season. 

I think Greinke will be a top-20 pitcher this year, and can possibly see 17 or 18 wins if Milwaukee’s offense can come alive.

Milwaukee’s second ace of the rotation is Yovani Gallardo. The 25-year-old stud is entering 2011 with two consecutive great seasons under his belt. 

Gallardo’s 2009 and 2010 were similar in terms of numbers, but the best part is his health. The injury bug has plagued him for a few seasons in his career, but Gallardo seems to be healthier than ever and ready to go. He has serious potential to be a top-20 starter in 2011. 

One concern is his poor performance after the All Star break last season. Even though he went 6-3, Gallardo’s ERA was 5.77 after the break. 

I think we can expect another solid year from him though. He should be able to get 14 wins, 200 strikeouts, a 3.70 ERA, and 185 IP once again.

One of the Brewers’ newest arrivals is starting pitcher Shaun Marcum. 


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Toronto Blue Jays 2011 Preview: Are They a Better Team Than Last Year?

At first glance, it would appear as if the Toronto Blue Jays have had a quiet offseason.

There were no big contracts, no major deals, no guys named Greinke or Ramirez. 

In fact, they seemed to lose more players than they acquired: Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, Kevin Gregg, All-Star catcher John Buck and first baseman Lyle Overbay have all signed elsewhere. 

Oh, and they traded Shaun Marcum, their Opening Day starter, for prospect Brett Lawrie.

Some have suggested that the Jays will actually field a weaker team than they did in 2010, one that’ll be unable to capitalize on the Crawford-less Rays and an aging New York Yankees. 

But in reality, GM Alex Anthopoulos has been flying under the radar, bolstering the club’s already impressive farm system with several low-risk acquisitions, such as outfielder Corey Patterson and reliever Wil Ledezma. The Jays will have a competitive spring training in which many players will be competing for few jobs, particularly in the bullpen. 

They signed former closers Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel and Chad Cordero, who will battle it out with Jason Frasor to be the everyday closer. The fifth spot in the rotation is also up for grabs, with Marc Rzepczynski, Jesse Litsch, Brad Mills and newcomer Zach Stewart all vying for the position. And if Dustin McGowan somehow manages to get healthy, you can throw his name into the mix, too. 

Whether the Jays brass will admit it publicly or not, the club is not realistically looking to contend for the AL East title until 2012. Having said that, there’s plenty to be excited about in 2011. Let’s take a closer look at the changes made over the offseason.

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MLB Power Rankings: Zack Greinke and NL Central’s 10 Biggest Offseason Moves

With so many of the big name free agents signed early on this off season, it has been a winter of trade rumors, and while most have proved to be nothing beyond just rumors, the Brewers managed to pull off two of the bigger trades of the off season.

However, the rest of the NL Central has been fairly busy as well, as the Cubs, Reds, Cardinals, and Brewers all look to be in the running for the division. Even the Astros and Pirates made a handful of moves that could make series’ against them that much tougher.

So here are the ten biggest moves of the off season for the NL Central, as we look forward to Spring Training and the start of the season.

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