|While Sean Marcum was one of the best pitchers in the American League in 2010, he also can become a free agent after the 2012 season. Given the challenges Toronto will likely face to compete for a playoff spot in 2011, the Blue Jays did well to trade Marcum at the height of his value to bring in Brett Lawrie, who could help them during a potential competitive window down the road.
Few righthanders with Marcum’s below-average fastball velocity can match his success. Despite sitting at 86-88 mph, Marcum has a 3.85 career ERA in nearly 600 innings. Marcum’s success comes from an outstanding changeup that he sells extremely well and excellent control; last year, just four pitchers who threw more than 150 innings walked fewer batters per nine innings than Marcum. Though Marcum pitched 195 innings last year, he’s still just two years removed from Tommy John surgery, which cost him the entire 2009 season.
The Brewers were one of four teams in baseball that allowed more than 800 runs last season, so Marcum should improve the Brewers’ run prevention and join Yovani Gallardo at the top of Milwaukee’s rotation. The cost for the Brewers to acquire Marcum was higher, however, as Lawrie would have ranked as the team’s No. 1 prospect.
|Blue Jays Acquire|
|Brett Lawrie, 2b
Age: 20. Position: 2B (131 G).
Born: Jan. 18, 1990 in Burnaby, B.C.
Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 213. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Brookswood SS, Langley, B.C.
Career Transactions: Selected by Brewers in first round (16th overall) of 2008 draft; signed Aug. 4, 2008.
Lawrie was the second-youngest player this season in the Double-A Southern League, returning to the circuit after the Brewers skipped him over high Class A Brevard County to join Huntsville at the end of 2009. Lawrie is aggressive in all phases of the game. He has a lot of movement in his set-up at the plate, but he is a solid hitter who doesn’t swing and miss excessively, though he is prone to chasing pitches outside the zone. He has average power but could grow into more as he matures thanks to his strong hands and excellent bat speed. He stole 30 bases but doesn’t project to repeat that going forward, as he’s just an average runner. Lawrie could become an offensive-minded second baseman, but even though he’s a good athlete, his defense still needs a lot of work to become even passable at second. Many scouts believe he’ll move to an outfield corner position, which would have been difficult in Milwaukee, where left fielder Ryan Braun is signed through 2015 and right fielder Corey Hart is locked up through 2013.
|Shaun Marcum, rhp
Age: 28. Remaining Commitment: Arbitration-eligible for 2011-12 seasons ($850,000 salary in ’10.)
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.