As the Winter Meetings get going in Nashville, the Minnesota Twins are likely to be one of the more active teams in terms of interest in starting pitching. They are unlikely to be in the running for the bigger names that are available, most notably Zack Greinke, and with multiple rotation spots to fill that is the best strategy. But there are plenty of other pitchers the Twins should at least have some level of interest in at this stage, and time will tell who is a fit.
Shaun Marcum spent 2012 with the Milwaukee Brewers, going 7-4 with a 3.70 ERA over 21 starts (124 innings) as he missed two months around mid-season with an elbow issue that did not require surgery. He also pitched for the Brewers in 2011, going 13-7 with a 3.54 ERA as he set career-highs in starts made (33) and innings pitched (200.2). Prior to that he spent his first five major league seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, with his best season there coming in 2010 (13-8, 3.64 ERA over 31 starts-195.1 innings). Marcum has a career record of 57-36 with a 3.76 ERA in 174 appearances (149 starts) over seven seasons, with solid peripheral numbers (7.3 career K/9 rate; 2.8 career BB/9 rate).
Marcum missed the entire 2009 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and has a history of other more minor elbow issues, so last season’s missed time serves as a big potential red flag. But that does not mean there won’t be interest in him on the free agent market, with the Blue Jays already reported to have interest in a reunion and plenty of other teams seeking to fill out their starting rotation likely to be in the mix as well.
Marcum made $7.7 million in 2012 in his final arbitration-eligible season, and there is virtually no way he will get that per year in a multi-year deal this offseason. Whether he can even get more than a one-year deal from anyone with his potential durability concerns is a question, and the Twins may choose to stay away given their own trouble with injuries in the starting rotation over the last two seasons. But if Marcum can be signed to a one or two-year deal at a reasonable price ($3 million per year?), I think they should have more than a passing interest here.