The Mets have fortified their rotation with their first major signing of the offseason. The team announced the signing of free agent right-hander Shaun Marcum to a one-year deal. The Turner Gary Sports client obtains a $4MM guarantee with the chance to earn another $4MM in incentives.
The right-hander joins a rotation that includes Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Matt Harvey. Right-handed prospects Jenrry Mejia and Zack Wheeler could also contribute to the Mets in 2013, but they no longer seem likely to begin the season in the rotation. Defending NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey will no longer be the team's number one starter, as the Mets dealt him to Toronto.
Marcum pitched for the Brewers this past season, posting a 3.70 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 35.4% ground ball rate in 124 innings over the course of 21 starts. The 31-year-old missed approximately two months due to elbow tightness in 2012 and his average fastball velocity remained well below 90 mph at 86.5 mph. Marcum, who joined the Brewers in a trade with Toronto following the 2010 season, has a career ERA of 3.76 with 7.3 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 38.7% ground ball rate in seven MLB seasons.
Marcum ranked 19th on MLBTR’s list of top 50 free agents entering the offseason. He has also been linked to the Indians, Mets, Twins and Royals at various points this winter. Marcum, who’s not linked to draft pick compensation, didn't appear to draw substantial interest from Brewers.
The Mets had also been linked to free agent starters such as Carl Pavano and Chris Young this offseason. Their interest in adding pitching depth might now be diminished, but GM Sandy Alderson figures to consider adding to his outfield if possible.