When the New York Mets gave starting pitcher Shaun Marcum an incentive-laden, one-year, $4 million contract in January, I was cautiously optimistic about the signing for New York. The 31-year old Marcum didn't have a bad year for Milwaukee in 2012, and a bounce back year could allow the Mets to spin him off for a prospect or two – if he remained healthy.
Well, Marcum didn't remain healthy. His season is over after just 12 starts (and two relief appearances) and 78 1/3 innings. Marcum's last start of the season came on Saturday, and he was placed on the DL soon after. He'll need surgery to repair thoracic outlet syndrome, and will be out for the rest of the season. Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals had the surgery last March, and has thrown just 30 2/3 innings since (including none this year). Mike Adams of the Phillies had the surgery this offseason, but still got a two year, $12 million contract from Philadelphia. His season is over after just 25 innings. Both players experienced more shoulder issues following the surgery, and Marcum might end up in the same boat.
While Marcum's season wasn't too appealing to a quick glance, as his 1-10 record and 5.29 ERA were absolutely hideous, his 2.86 strikeout to walk ratio was the second-best mark of his career (following the stellar 2010 that led to his trade to the Brewers from Toronto). But Marcum's velocity bottomed out this season, dropping nearly three miles per hour from his first full season in the majors in 2006.
Milwaukee reportedly passed on bringing the veteran back because they didn't like the looks of his medicals, and given the state of their starting pitching this season, most fans figured there had to be fire with that smoke. Now we now that the Brewers were wise for passing on re-signing him this winter. If only they would have dealt him after the 2011 season or before he went on the DL in 2012…