Right handed pitcher Shaun Marcum will be a free agent at the end of the season and according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, the Brewers “have made no move to engage Marcum in discussions about an extension.”
Brewers General Manager, Doug Melvin, said that they will probably “let him play the year out,” (via McCalvy) and I think this could be the best decision for them. Even though their ace, Zack Greinke, will also become a free agent at the end of the season, I'd still let Marcum play the year out.
The 29-year old underwent Tommy John surgery in 2008, and was bothered by elbow discomfort again in 2010. Besides that, he has been slowed by shoulder stiffness during spring, although he threw three scoreless innings against the Dodgers yesterday.
In 2011, Marcum was 13-7 with a 3.54 ERA in 200.2 innings (the first time in his career that he reaches that plateau). He also had 1.0 HR/9, 2.6 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9, solid numbers and similar to the ones achieved in previous seasons.
In my opinion, Marcum is going to get a raise from the $7.725 million he is set to earn in 2012 just by emulating his 2011 numbers, if he stays healthy obviously. So the Brewers should see how he performs during the season, see if he can stay healthy and evaluate whether they should stay with him or Greinke, because keeping both of them will be very difficult.
Greinke is one year younger, and has pitched 487 more innings than Marcum. Also, Greinke's HR/9 throughout his career has been 0.9 against Marcum's 1.2. His BB/9, 2.4 against 2.7 for Marcum and the SO/9 8.0 for Greinke and 7.2 for Marcum. The differences between the two aren't huge, but Greinke has been superior in everyone of those stats. Marcum's VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) during the last three seasons has been 3.3, 30.1 and 26.5 respectively, and Greinke's VORP, 70.4, 25.3 and 29.9, so he should be, without a doubt more expensive than Marcum.
After this season, the Brewers will have to face the fact that they will probably at best only be able to retain one of them. Greinke would probably look for a five-year deal, worth about $75 million, and Marcum a four-year deal worth about $48 million, or at least that's what I think they're worth right now. So Melvin would have to evaluate the team's needs and budget at the end of the 1012 and see what's best for them, but for now, letting him play the year out is the best decision.