Starting pitching is a priorty for Alex Anthopoulos and the Toronto Blue Jays this offseason. This much we know. While it’s more of a long shot that the club will land a prize like Zack Greinke, it’s probable that they will be players in the race for many of the second tier free agent starters along the lines of Scott Baker, Edwin Jackson, Jeremy Guthrie and Shaun Marcum. Marcum, ahh him, that’s not happening right?

As Stoeten noted over at DJF a couple of weeks back regarding the possibility of the Toronto Blue Jays reuniting with Shaun Marcum, Jeff Blair seemingly extinguished the idea by vaguely hinting at some clubhouse issues during the 30-year old’s previous tenure with the team. You can listen for yourself here, but we’ll run with Stoeten’s transcription for those more inclined to use their eyeballs:

“Ah… there are extenuating circumstances with Shaun Marcum– no chance that he’s back here,” he explained. “I think the Blue Jays thought that there were some things going on in the clubhouse when he was there that they didn’t necessarily like. Shaun Marcum is definitely not coming back here, not as long as Alex Anthopoulos is General Manager, put it that way.”

Yeah, so, something about rumours of Marcum’s propensity to perspire emanating from an innate ability to contract the 40 oz. flu at a staggering rate. Anyhow, if one were to place any stock in Blair’s musing on the subject then we would presume that the Blue Jays would abstain from attempting to enter negotiations with Marcum.

Then again, maybe not. In a Friday notebook piece in the Toronto Sun, Bob Elliott indicates that the Blue Jays have inquired about the market price for Marcum. Marcum spent five seasons in a Blue Jays uniform before being traded to Milwaukee in the deal that landed Brett Lawrie. He has expressed an interest in returning to Toronto, and he fits the bill as a quality buy-low option that Alex Anthopoulos would be looking for in this winter’s quest to solidify the club’s starting pitching.

Rumblings of clubhouse issues aside, there’s the trouble with Marcum’s health. The right hander hit the 60-day DL last season with an elbow injury, and missed another block of games late in the season with a calf injury. Perhaps it’s just due diligence on the part of the Blue Jays. It doesn’t hurt to knock on the door.

Marcum started 21 games for the Brewers last season, posting a 3.70 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 4.21 xFIP and 109 strikeouts in 124 innings. The Chicago Cubs have also been linked to him in the early stages of this free agency season. Marcum earned $7.725 million on a one-year deal in 2012.

Comments (15)

  1. I am not 100% sure Blair knows what he is talking about. I am pretty sure I remember Anthopoulos stating that the Marcum-for-Lawrie trade was the hardest one he has ever had to make, and it kept him up at night with worry. Does anyone else remember this? Doesn’t jibe with this “Marcum never coming back” idea.

    • The story at the time was that the Jays were willing to offer him a 3-year contract extension also (though they wouldn’t go more than 3).

      • Okay, right, this shows that Blair’s statement about attitude problems or whatever seems to be nonsense.

  2. He’s a 50/50 to me. As long as he stays healthy, his addition would be a bonus to our crippled rotation. He’s proven already that he can handle pitching in the crowded AL East.

  3. i like marcum. someone needs to grab romero by the ears and ask him if he’s going to pitch like a man.

  4. Marcum’s fastball velocity is 86mph.. he’s always done a good job with limited speed – but I really hope the Jays are aiming higher.. He’s not the worst option but i would be very underwhelmed if he was this year’s big FA haul. Control is slipping and that is a dangerous thing for a guy who tosses pedestrian paced pitches.

  5. I’d be fine with acquiring Marcum if he is the second best starting pitcher that the Blue Jays acquire this off-season.

  6. Was Marcum drinking beer and eating chicken in the clubhouse?

  7. I really hope Anthopoulos takes advantage of some of the platoon options available on the market with guys like Nate McLouth vs. righties and Matt Diaz and Jeff Keppinger vs. LHP to go along with some platoon guys they already have like Adam Lind vs. righties, Rajai Davis vs. lefties and to some extent Maicer Izturis vs. righties. Platooning is a great way effectively fill positions on a limited budget like the Jays have.

    • To a point, sure. If mediocrity is the goal anyway. There’s still only a 25-man roster available. They can’t platoon at too many positions before they lose important bullpen arms.

      • Interestingly those 3 guys mentioned played on 3 good teams last year – Orioles, Braves and Rays so you can make it work. McLouth has a career OPS just under .800 vs RH and Diaz and Keppinger are almost .900 career versus LH.

  8. Has there been a free agent in the last two years that the Blue Jays have not be “IN ON’?

  9. I suspect that AA traded one of the reasons calculated in trading Marcum was that he was headed into his expensive arbitration years when the Jays were in a build mode. Getting the good young controllable asset was the way to go at the time.

    I think that Blair is reaching. So long as you get there on time, get your work in, and play hard most managers and GM’s are just fine with that.

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