Milwaukee appears content with Marcum testing out the free agent waters, as they were not prepared to offer someone with a history of injuries and inconsistency late in the season a big contract. However, Marcum stated on Jim Bowden’s ESPN XM radio show “the door is not closed for a possible return to the Brewers”.
General manager Doug Melvin does not appear in a rush to contact Marcum and apparently was surprised to hear the right-hander has not received an offer from another Major League team.
“We like Shaun; he pitched well for us.” Melvin said. “But I always thought he’d engage in talks with a team and get something worked out, and he probably will.”
That certainly does not sound like a GM who is willing to make an offer to the 30-year-old starting pitcher. It is understandable that Melvin does not want to re-sign Marcum considering the veteran dealt with a shoulder injury most of the year. Saying no to the $13.3 million qualifying offer was a good idea but if Milwaukee can re-sign Marcum to a contract that is substantially less then it might be something worth considering.
The Brewers recorded a franchise-best 96 wins in 2011 in large part due to Marcum’s incredible regular season performance. Obviously, he was completely non-existent in the postseason, which was a big reason why Milwaukee fell two games short of a World Series berth. Last year, the No. 1 reason why the Brewers did not make the postseason was because of pitching, as the offense ranked the best in the National League.
Melvin has stated that he is prepared to give some of Milwaukee’s talented prospects a shot in the rotation and the bullpen. As much faith as I have in the talent in the farm system, I believe it is a mistake to not have another veteran arm in the rotation behind ace Yovani Gallardo. Signing Marcum could be a mistake because he might turn in another injury-plagued season. On the other hand, he could have another 13-win year with a 3.54 ERA and the Brewers would be on their way to popping a few more champagne bottles in the Miller Park clubhouse.
Gallardo, Chris Narveson, Michael Fiers, Mark Rogers, Wily Peralta and possibly Marco Estrada in exchange for one of the previous players could be a very good rotation that would cost Milwaukee close to nothing. However, there is a lot of pressure on several young guys who have not played in the big leagues outside of last year.
If the Brewers have another top ranked offense but miss the playoffs because of pitching again in 2013, fans in Milwaukee will be outraged because it could have been avoided with a couple of free agent signings. I’m not saying Marcum is the answer but for the right price it is hard to go wrong with him.
In 54 starts with Milwaukee, Marcum has posted a 20-11 record with a 3.63 ERA and 267 strikeouts in 324 2/3 innings.