Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Hot Stove talk: Shaun Marcum
By Richard Durrett
There aren't too many remaining free agents to discuss and some of them may not make much sense, but that doesn't mean we can't talk about it (and you know the Rangers' front office talks about anything and everything internally). A few of you have tweeted me asking about some other starting pitchers. Let's take a look at one that you've brought up (we can get to the other way tomorrow).
Today's player: Shaun Marcum
The 31-year-old right-hander is apparently drawing interest from the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs this offseason (of the teams that have surfaced in reports).
Marcum was 7-4 with a 3.70 ERA in 124 innings pitched. He made just 21 starts because he spent two months in the middle of the season on the disabled list with an elbow injury. He returned in late August and was 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA in his final eight starts with 32 strikeouts and 15 walks. Opponents hit .279 against him in that span.
Marcum's last four seasons have been fairly consistent (he missed 2009 recovering from shoulder surgery). He's got a 3.57 ERA with a 42-26 record pitching for Toronto and Milwaukee. Marcum's never been one of those guys that is dazzling, but he's been solid. When Keith Law put together his top-50 free agent list right after the season ended, he's part of what he said about Marcum:
I love that Marcum goes after hitters like they kicked his dog, but a fastball at 85-88 mph is too hittable for the heart of the plate, and he'll need to continue to adjust his approach to pitch in the middle of anyone's rotation.
Marcum is likely looking for a two- or three-year deal and made $7.725 million last year. For what it's worth: Marcum has made just two career starts at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, his last coming in 2010. He gave up three runs on two hits in seven innings and got a no-decision in a game the Blue Jays lost in April to Texas. He's not a pitcher that induces a lot of ground balls and may not be well suited for Texas.
The question that must be asked (and we've asked it with other names we've brought up here before) is whether Marcum is better than the club's internal options to fill out the rotation. I'm not sure at the price he's going to command that the team isn't better off letting Martin Perez, Justin Grimm and others (maybe Robbie Ross) fight for that role. Plus, the club's overall plan has been to either dramatically improve the rotation with an upper-tier starter or give the young kids a chance. Marcum does not improve the upper-part of the rotation.
So I'm not too excited about Marcum, unless he ends up getting a one-year deal and I can't see that happening. At this point, I'd rather see the young pitchers get a shot, but that's just me. And since a group of you tweeted or emailed in the past three days asking about Marcum, I thought I'd throw him out there for discussion.
Do you like him? Would you sign him and stick him in the rotation or would you rather go to spring training with the current crop of candidates?