So far this year’s Spring Training has been most notable for the contract extensions that have been signed by players like Andrew McCutchen, Yadier Molina and Ryan Zimmerman. As much fun as it is to see and hear baseball being played once again, these off field moves are far more important than anything happening on the diamonds in Arizona and Florida thus far.
Ahead of the 2011 season, the Milwaukee Brewers went all in as part of an attempt to make the playoffs. They mortgaged part of their farm system to acquire the pitching help they desperately sought in Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. The team was successful, making the playoffs and advancing all the way to the NLCS in Prince Fielder’s final year with the team.
Now, the two most important players that the team acquired in the previous off season are in their final year before becoming eligible for free agency, and yet there seems to be little movement toward locking either Greinke or Marcum up. While Greinke, one of the few agentless players in baseball, prefers to do things his own way, Marcum has let his agent make it known to Brewers management that he would like to stick around.
I told my agent, and he’s let it be known that we’re interested. Like I told Rex, when you give up probably your best prospect in Lawrie, you’d want to keep me around more than two years. But they’ve got some young guys coming up with the two kids they drafted last year [Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley] and [Wily] Peralta.
But the door’s definitely wide open if they want to talk. The organization’s been great. It feels like home; it’s a lot like where I live back in the off-season [Missouri]. My wife loves it there, and we feel like it’s a great fit for us. And playing in front of 40,000 fans every night, you can’t beat it.
Given Marcum’s above average numbers overall last season and the fact that the Brewers were willing to give up their best prospect in Brett Lawrie to acquire him, it’s curious that they wouldn’t be pushing harder to keep the starter on the roster for more than just two years. Well, it’s curious to anyone who didn’t see Marcum’s disastrous turn during last year’s playoff run.
Durability issues surrounded Marcum, and they continue to during this preseason. A sore shoulder has delayed his Spring debut and the team has yet to set a new date for his first piece of game action. While Marcum overcame a similar delay last season to put up the best first couple of months of any Brewers’ pitcher. Given his late season playoff performance, this probably isn’t the most ideal situation for a player in his contract year.
Adding to this worry is Marcum’s extensive history with an assortment of injuries. It seems that problems with every body part have contributed to missed time for the right handed starter. At the end of the 2007 season with the Toronto Blue Jays, it was knee surgery. The next year it was Tommy John surgery. After missing all of 2009 recovering, he missed more time in 2010 with elbow problems. As previously mentioned, he spent his first Spring Training with Milwaukee suffering through shoulder tightness, and then missed some time during the year with a bum hip. Before his most recent shoulder problem, Marcum has also missed time due to lower back and lower leg problems, as well as blisters in the summer of 2010.
All of this is to say, that the Brewers have not talked extension with Marcum for a reason, and they’re most likely making the right decision. I’m certain that giving up Lawrie to acquire him would’ve created a restless part of the front office that would like to get more than two years of service in return. However, a contract extension should never pay for the past. It must be all about the future, and given Marcum’s injury history, that future is questionable enough to perhaps make Milwaukee want to avoid paying their pitcher for it.
Speaking of the Milwaukee Brewers, during last night’s preseason broadcast of their exhibition game against the San Francisco Giants, I learned that these exist:
And The Rest
It doesn’t look as though Carl Crawford will be ready for Opening Day. [Twitter]
There’s a battle for left field brewing in the Toronto Blue Jays camp. [DJF]
Travis Snider follows the zen of Green to deal with his difficult past couple of seasons. [Chronicle Herald]
How baseball made John Dillinger public enemy numero uno. [MLB Dirt]
What were the most damaging home runs of 2011? [The Platoon Advantage]
Have the last couple of seasons truly been the years of the pitcher, or are umpires finally putting it together? [Baseball Analytics]
The owners of the New York Mets will pay $30 million in illegal profits from the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme. It might seem like a lot, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the $386 million for which they could’ve been on the hook. [Bloomberg]
San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey should make his Spring Training debut later this week. [Comcast Sportsnet]
But why worry about only one member of the San Francisco Giants, when you can look up the entire team’s health report. [McCovey Chornicles]
Manager Ron Gardenhire is serious about the Minnesota Twins’ zero tolerance policy during Spring Training. Nope. Not drinking and driving. Gardenhire is talking about lacklustre play. [Pioneer Press]
Ryan Sweeny’s missing power is now being searched for by Boston Red Sox fans, as Oakland supporters snicker. [Over The Monster]
Do not tread on our camouflage jerseys. [UT San Diego]
MLB 2K12 will have the new MLB playoff format as part of its game. Talk about a quick turn around. [Game Bandits]
For links to all the posts at Getting Blanked, follow the blog on Twitter. [Twitter]
For even more Getting Blanked content, “like” our page on Facebook. [Facebook]
May I present to you, the ugliest jersey of all time ever. [CSN Broadcast]
Finally, Toronto Blue Jays reliever Francisco Cordero’s off season work out regime consisted of doughnuts, and not a whole lot more. [Twitter]