Shaun Marcum Rumors
Let's start the last weekend in April with some notes from the National League:
- As expected, offseason acquisition Shaun Marcum has been activated to make his first start for the Mets today, the team announced via Twitter. In a corresponding move, the team optioned 26-year-old lefty Josh Edgin to the minors, where he will try to sort out his poor start to the year. The Mets hope that Marcum, who came to New York on a one-year, $4MM deal, can stabilize the back of the team's rotation. While Matt Harvey has been lights out and Jon Niese has been solid, the remaining Mets starters have combined to allow well over five earned runs per nine innings.
- Even with the mixed results from the team's starting staff, the Mets have gotten off to a fairly promising start. Meanwhile, the Nationals and Phillies have failed to live up to expectations in the early going. While acknowledging it is a long shot, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post looks at what it would take for the Mets to seize any opening should the Nats and Phils continue to underperform. Many variables would have to break right for the Mets, says Davidoff. The club must hold things together and hope that Travis d'Arnaud and Zack Wheeler arrive mid-summer, ready to contribute. (Of course, the d'Arnaud side of this already looks unlikely given his approximately two-month injury timetable.) If that happens, the Mets will face a test of their asserted willingness to take on salary -- and/or even deal young talent -- to make a run at a postseason appearance.
- In the midst of what MLBTR's Mark Polishuk calls a make or break year, Giants starter Tim Lincecum has put together two consecutive quality starts. As Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com writes, last night Lincecum struck out nine Padres over seven innings, allowing just two runs. Lincecum, who currently stands ninth in Tim Dierkes's 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings, had struggled mightily in his first three outings. While he still ranks among baseball's worst in BB/9 (5.16), Lincecum has raised his strikeout rate to 9.71 K/9.
- The Cardinals are not currently looking outside the organization to supplement their bullpen, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. While the club waits to learn the fate of injured closer Jason Motte, it has been rewarded for handing larger roles to Edward Mujica and Joe Kelly. GM John Mozeliak says that, while he is open to looking at the trade market, "that would not be in the near future."
- Morosi also addressed the subject of Braves outfielder Justin Upton, wondering why exactly the Diamondbacks decided to trade him. While Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick publicly called Upton "an enigma," and manager Kirk Gibson purportedly did not see eye-to-eye with the young slugger, Morosi says there was no single moment that apparently caused a rift. In case you missed it, Upton is off to something of a solid start for his new ballclub.
Outfielder Ryan Ludwick injured his right shoulder in the Reds' season opener and will need surgery. The Reds could promote Derrick Robinson or Denis Phipps to take Ludwick's place on the roster, Jon Fay of Cincinnati.com writes. Chris Heisey will take the bulk of Ludwick's playing time in left, so that makes an option like prospect Donald Lutz somewhat unlikely, since the Reds might prefer that he play every day. The Reds appear to have enough depth to avoid pursuing an option from outside the organization. Ludwick re-signed with the Reds for two years and $15MM in December. Here are more notes from around the National League.
- Pitcher Shaun Marcum is on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis, and the Mets will need to add another starting pitcher, ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin contends (on Twitter). Chris Young, who pitched 115 innings for the Mets in 2012, is a free agent after being released by the Nationals, but the Mets did not appear interested (Twitter link) in Young several days ago, and as yet there have been no indications that Marcum's injury changes their stance.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers guarantees his team will win at least 90 games, Dan Bickley of AZCentral.com reports. "In 2011, I put down 85 and we won 94. Last year, I had 89 (wins) and we won 81," Towers says. "But I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve got a pretty good idea. I guarantee it’s going to start with a nine." The Diamondbacks are coming off an offseason filled with what Bickley calls "debatable, combustible maneuvers," including the trades of Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer.
Shaun Marcum’s one-year, $4MM deal with the Mets this past offseason was negotiated by his agents at Turner-Gary Sports, Inc. Marcum spoke with B.J. Rains for MLBTR about his agents Rex Gary and Jimmy Turner.
When did you first come in contact with Rex Gary and Jimmy Turner?
It would have been Spring Training 2004. At the time they had Ryan Howard as a client and I knew Ryan from college so he introduced us and within a few days, Rex and Jim Turner were representing me and we’ve been together ever since. Looking back on it too, they didn’t have my cell phone number in college and they called my parents' house and my parents never told me leading up to the draft so I never knew. When I got drafted I went with the one person I knew, the one person that called me, because he was the only agent to contact me before the draft and I needed somebody to represent me and then after my first short season that’s when I met Rex and Jim and my parents then told me that they did call the house, but I didn’t give my cell phone number out so when I met them that’s when I made the switch and I’ve been with them ever since.”
What made them the right fit for you?
Tony LaCava with the Blue Jays was one of the guys that looked at me and drafted me back in 2003 and Tony had known Rex for a while and mentioned my name to Rex when I was in the Cape Cod League in 2002 so Rex had seen me then and he knew a little bit about me. I thought that was important because he wasn’t just somebody that was trying to make a quick buck. He knew quite a bit about me and my family and with Jimmy being from Missouri, he knew my college coaches and had a relationship with those guys so it just seemed like a good fit.
Just talking to them, they are very family oriented and they keep in touch and keep in contact with my wife and they’ve seen my kids from birth on and to this day, I feel like they are family. If they were ever in a bind or if I ever needed anything or them, I know either one of us would be there to help each other out.
What makes them good agents?
I know Rex is well respected by the Players Association and well respected throughout the game by a lot of the general managers. And arbitration, obviously it’s a big deal in baseball, and other agencies hire him to do their arbitration cases for them. He’s very respected throughout the game as far as arbitration. Also just his clients and what he can do for them in free agency. He and Jimmy had Joe Carter, Ryne Sandberg who signed a big contract, Brad Lidge, a lot of guys. Just his background and being an attorney and all of that and having that as an agent, he looks at all the details and makes sure everything is correct.
I’ve heard from other agents throughout my career, some random agents wanting to get a hold me and talk to me and I tell them I’m happy where I’m at and I don’t plan on making a change. I appreciate their interest but I’m happy with Jimmy and Rex.
It seems like they have plenty of big-name clients but are still able to give you personal attention?
I think that’s important, coming through the minor leagues and getting to the big leagues, to this day, they don’t forget about me. I still get texts and phone calls after every single start. I get them before starts. They will stay up and watch the games, if we’re on the west coast and they will be on the east coast but they will stay up and watch and I hear from them that night or the next morning. They don’t take anything for granted. They will do whatever they can do to help their clients out and I’m very fortunate enough to have them.
My wife would tell you the same thing, she loves them. She treats them as family. They are somebody that we will always have a relationship with even when I’m done with baseball. They’ve been there through everything with me as far as my baseball career is concerned, Tommy John, arbitration, free agency, my family, the birth of my kids, they’ve been there. They are like family. If you can find agents like I did that are going to be there with you through the ups and downs, good times and bad times, that’s the guy you need to get.
Check out our other interviews in the Why I Chose My Agency series with Mark DeRosa, Ted Lilly, Ryan Ludwick, Cody Ross, Aramis Ramirez, Adam Wainwright, Jeremy Affeldt, David Wright, Jay Bruce, Matt Holliday, Jamey Carroll and Jake Odorizzi.
Here are some notes from the big apple's two big league clubs:
- The Mets are "in desperate need of clearing several spots" on their 40-man roster, and have "put out word to other teams that they are interested in moving non-core prospects" who would have to pass through waivers to be retained, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. With the team likely in need of four roster vacancies to account for players who figure to be added to the 40-man before Opening Day, the Mets could look to move players such as Gonzalez Germen, Darin Gorski, Reese Havens, Juan Lagares, Cesar Puello, Elvin Ramirez, and Hansel Robles, according to Rubin.
- The Blue Jays could be interested in the aforementioned Havens, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Havens, a 25-year-old second baseman, has yet to see big league action and hit .215/.340/.351 over 390 Double-A plate appearances last year.
- After allowing him to reach free agency, the Brewers "didn't want to touch" Shaun Marcum this offseason due to injury concerns, tweets Martino. Marcum, now with the Mets, is looking unlikely to start the season in the rotation due to neck and shoulder issues, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com explains.
- The Yankees "will not receive credit on their 2014 luxury-tax payroll" for recently-acquired outfielder Vernon Wells, tweets FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Instead, "the charge for him will simply be zero." Rosenthal had previously discussed the complicated background of the Yankees' attempt to maximize their ability to get under the luxury tax threshold in structuring the Wells deal. Wells is still due $42MM over the next two seasons as he plays out the end of his 7-year, $126MM deal. As Rosenthal explains, the Yankees will pay him $13.9MM of the remaining obligation, with only $2.4MM of that allocated to 2014 for purposes of luxury tax avoidance.
- Rosenthal discussed the financial impact to the Yanks for acquiring Wells, questioning whether the club might have been better served by instead inking Russell Martin this off-season. In particular, Rosenthal explained that Martin told New York that he would agree to a one-year deal for around $9-10MM before he agreed to terms with the Pirates on a two-year, $17MM contract.
- Discussing his contract, which he originally signed with the Blue Jays before it was famously assumed by the Angels, Vernon Wells acknowledged that "no one's worth that kind of money," tweets Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger. Wells continued: "It’s what the market’s worth at that time ... I caught the market at a good time."
- While commentators and fans seem skeptical of the Yankees' prospects for 2013, as well as their recent roster moves, GM Brian Cashman is resolute, writes McCullough (hat tip to River Ave. Blues). Cashman says that any notion of rebuilding is "just not part of our DNA," and rejects the notion that the team has been holding back on spending, though he acknowledges that he intends to "tread water until the guys come back." In terms of philosophy on long-term commitments, Cashman says he will not be "gun-shy," but nevertheless will be "more choosy" going forward.
- Cashman also discussed the decision not to beat the Mets' offer for then-Twins hurler Johan Santana. Unlike current Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia, Cashman noted, Santana profiled as a "high-risk player going forward, health-wise."
Here's the latest from around the NL East...
- Though the Braves and Brian McCann have agreed to put extension talks on hold until the end of the season, GM Frank Wren said the team won't rule out re-opening talks during the season, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. McCann is entering his last contracted year with Atlanta.
- Over 19% of the Phillies' 2012 payroll was lost to time spent the disabled list, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News observes. Murphy notes that the Phils have lost over $100MM to injuries over the last five seasons, with approximately $64.5MM of that total coming from 2011 and 2012.
- We heard last week that the Mets were interested in Roy Oswalt, and the club "flirted with the idea" of using Oswalt as a late-game reliever and possible closer, Metsblog.com's Matthew Cerrone reports. If the Mets are indeed looking for a veteran swingman, Cerrone suggests that Derek Lowe or Daisuke Matsuzaka could be possible fits.
- Shaun Marcum's Mets contract contains up to $4MM in incentive bonuses, which are outlined by the Associated Press (via ESPN New York's Adam Rubin).
- If Gio Gonzalez ends up facing a PED-related suspension, there aren't many optimal left-handed starting options left for the Nationals in free agency, MASNsports.com's Byron Kerr writes. A Gonzalez suspension would put added pressure on Ross Detwiler as Washington's only current left-handed starter, and Kerr lists a few other internal options. Earlier this offseason, the Nats non-tendered southpaw John Lannan, who signed with the Phillies.
Earlier today, the Mets formally introduced Shaun Marcum to the press and later on, General Manager Sandy Alderson's fielded questions from season ticket holders. Here's a look at some highlights..
- Marcum is the premier pitcher to join the Mets this winter but he says that replacing the production of R.A. Dickey will require a team effort and the responsibility doesn't fall squarely on his shoulders, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The right-handed hurler believes that if he and the rest of the Mets' starting five can stay healthy and shoot for 200+ innings, it'll go a long way towards filling the void.
- The 31-year-old would have liked to have sign a multi-year deal this winter, but “nothing came about.” However, there wasn't a lack of interest for Marcum as he says 15-20 teams pursued him to some degree, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
- Alderson insists that the Mets have money to spend this season and in the coming years, but they intend on being careful about how they go about it, according to the Mets' Twitter feed.
- Marcum says he isn't feeling any residual effects from the elbow tightness that cost him nine weeks of play over the summer.
- The opportunity to make thirty starts was a plus for Marcum (via Mets on Twitter) as well as his history with J.P. Ricciardi (Rubin on Twitter).
- Vice President of player development and scouting Paul DePodesta opined that the Mets have one of the best pitching farm systems in MLB and says that they now have added some impact bats in the last couple of drafts (Twitter link).
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.
Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier has been the subject of trade rumors all winter, but the veteran isn't buying into the notion that he'll be playing elsewhere come Opening Day, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. “I haven’t looked too much into it,” Ethier said. “It’s something I see as rumors. I think Ned was pretty quick to say there was nothing to it. That was enough to ease my mind, even though obviously there was a lot following that."
Here's the latest news and headlines from both the AL and NL West...
- The Mariners and Rangers both had discussions with Shaun Marcum before the veteran elected to sign with the Mets, writes Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com (via Twitter). As a result, each team remains in the hunt for starting pitching.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has some regrets for trading Justin Ruggiano to the Marlins last spring, but likes the player he received in Jobduan Morales, says Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (on Twitter).
- Houston manager Bo Porter believes Rick Ankiel will make the big league roster out of Spring Training if he can play up to his potential, writes Dave Zangaro of CSNHouston.com. “He will add leadership. He will add a veteran presence in the lineup. You look at his ability to play defense, I watched him make some throws and make some catches that make you shake your head. This guy’s phenomenal.”
Yesterday, the Mets finally made their first major free agent addition of the offseason when they inked Shaun Marcum to a one-year, $4MM deal with another $4MM in incentives. Here's more on the right-hander and other news out of Queens..
- Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (on Twitter) has the breakdown of Marcum's incentives package. The hurler can earn $1.75MM in roster bonuses and $2.25MM more in bonuses for innings pitched going all the way up to 200.
- The Mets need a center fielder, but Jay Schreiber of the New York Times highly doubts that it will be free agent Michael Bourn. Schreiber writes that the Mets would likely be headed for another fourth-place finish in 2013, even with the addition of the 30-year-old. He also wonders aloud if the club's flirtation with Bourn is at least partly designed to make it seem as if the Mets are trying to do something major, even though they know its a longshot.
- Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs likes the Mets' signing of Marcum and sees it as a solid bargain for GM Sandy Alderson & Co. Marcum missed significant time last season due to an elbow issue but posted a 3.70 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 across 21 starts.
Joe Saunders is the top left-handed starter available in free agency based on MLBTR’s list of the offseason’s top 50 free agents. Here’s the latest on Saunders, who ranked 25th on Tim Dierkes’ list entering the offseason...
- The Twins are pursuing Saunders, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). They’ve had interest in Saunders throughout the offseason, and made him an offer at one point.
- The Padres are not in on Saunders or Shaun Marcum and haven't been all winter, MLB.com's Corey Brock reports (on Twitter).