The Milwaukee Brewers elected to not re-sign starting pitcher Shaun Marcum, who inked a one-year, $4 million deal with the New York Mets, and instead will go with a rotation that will consist of four pitchers that have yet to play a full season in the majors as a starter. Is it possible the Brewers will regret not signing Marcum?
Marcum had his fair share of injuries last year, which led to him only making 21 starts, the least amount of games he has appeared in since 2006. This allowed Milwaukee to test out some of their prospects, which worked out very well for the Brewers because it allowed them to see firsthand what they have talent-wise.
However, it also convinced Milwaukee to let Marcum leave via free agency and stick with their minor league pitchers, which could be either a good or bad thing.
The 31-year old Marcum could be over the hill and never truly recover from his arm injury. Even though he has proven to be a very reliable pitcher who is capable of taking a team to the postseason, it might not make sense to spend $4 million plus incentives on a player that could ride the disabled list for most of the season.
On the other hand, Marcum is a proven major leaguer who has plenty of experience to know exactly how to handle every situation. Not to mention, his meltdown in the 2011 postseason will only serve him well if he is ever lucky enough to reach the playoffs again.
The Brewers are basically replacing proven starters with pitchers that may not be as good as fans want to believe. Marco Estrada, Michael Fiers, Mark Rogers and Wily Peralta had their moments last year when they were lights out. They even played very well down the stretch and are a huge reason Milwaukee was able to come within a grasp of the second National League Wild Card spot. However, to expect these players to pitch exactly the same way in 2013 for an entire season is foolish.
Considering how much talent and potential the four starters after Yovani Gallardo in the rotation have, it is reasonable to think that they can carry the Brewers to 90 wins. But 90 wins is a lot to ask for from young players, and one has to believe the pressure of winning and simple fatigue will eventually set in. Throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks is a good concept for a team that is trying to save money, but could be questionable considering the offense is one of the best in the league.
Not re-signing Marcum could be a huge mistake because at least he would have been a solid number-two in the rotation behind Gallardo, and could give the team 13 wins. Not having that workhorse could certainly backfire with severe repercussions. However, if Fiers, Rogers and Peralta are as good as general manager Doug Melvin believes they are, then letting Marcum go could turn out to be a blessing.
Milwaukee believes they have very talented pitchers in the minors that are more than capable of getting the job done in the big leagues. Mix them in with a top offense and a rebuilt bullpen, and the Brewers could be ready to once again make some noise in the NL Central.