Unlike many of his free agent peers who continue to wait for a new contract, Shaun Marcum is not tied to draft pick compensation. The Brewers’ decision to forgo extending the right hander a qualifying offer, in theory, should have given a jolt to his free agent stock. It has not. Like Kyle Lohse, Shaun Marcum waits.
Much of Marcum’s lack of employment prospects this winter could probably be tied to the two months he missed in 2012 with elbow tightness. That and the fact that he didn’t pitch nearly as well in 2012 as he did the previous two seasons. While Marcum’s strike out rate was in line with what we’ve come to expect, his ground ball rate sunk to a career low (35.4%) and his HR/FB rate (10.6%) was the highest it’s been since 2008. His FIP took a substantial drive north to 4.10 from the 3.74 and 3.73 he finished the 2010 and 2011 seasons with, too.
Perhaps there’s a break in the bad news for Marcum, though. According to Jon Morosi, interest in Marcum may be picking up a little. The Fox Sports reporter tweets that Marcum is drawing interest from the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Texas Rangers. Let’s play matchmaker for Marcum and these three prospective employers.
Marcum, Texas Ranger: A pitcher like Marcum with a high fly ball rate is probably not a good fit for the Ballpark in Arlington. Couple that with the possibility that Marcum could potentially represent the Rangers’ biggest free agent acquisition this winter and we’re headed for trouble. Picture Rangers fans bemoaning the pitcher’s performance this summer: “this Marcum guy, all he does is give up long balls and sweat. I can’t believe we paid for this guy.” The Rangers could pay Marcum with a side of Nolan Ryan branded beef and this still wouldn’t be a good match.
Dread Pirate Marcum: Hey, the Pittsburgh Pirates need to do something with that money the allotted for Francisco Liriano. The first thing they should do is refrain from entertaining the thought of giving it to Francisco Liriano. Shaun Marcum has had some success in the National League Central, and he’d be an upgrade from Clint Barmes at shortstop. What’s that? Marcum is a pitcher, you say. Oh well, I’m sure he can do what Kevin Correia, Jeff Karstens, or anyone not named A.J. Burnett did for the Pirates starting rotation last season.
Casa de Marcum Padre: PETCO Park used to be where pitchers went to find success. The walls are coming in at PETCO next season and the ballpark is going to need a poster boy to represent the blossoming offensive paradise it’s about to become. Marcum could be that dude. Never mind that PETCO will still be rather spacious, but think of Marcum’s propensity to sweat and that Southern California heat. Just let Edinson Volquez be the guy who gives up all the home runs in the altered PETCO Park.
Totally baseless prediction: Shaun Marcum signs a one-year deal with the Pirates. Let’s toss a club option in there, too. Phrases like “health risk”, “something to prove”, and “solid mid-rotation guy” get lobbed around.