The New York Mets have finally made a bit of a splash this winter, inking former Blue Jays and Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum to a one-year deal. Marcum made $7.725 million last year with Milwaukee, but will likely be taking a pay cut from that salary after missing two months in 2012 with tightness in his elbow and making just 21 starts.
The Brewers initially acquired Marcum from the Blue Jays after the 2010 season for a high price: third baseman Brett Lawrie, now a franchise building block in Toronto. The now 31-year old Marcum is a flyball pitcher, something that absolutely hurt him at Miller Park over the last two years. At home as a Brewer, Marcum allowed 21 homers in 149 2/3 innings, compared to just 17 in 175 road innings. Marcum's triple slash was also markedly better away from Miller Park, and heading into a better pitchers park in Citi Field will help his overall stat line a lot.
New York's projected rotation will now feature Johan Santana, Jonathon Niese, Marcum, Dillon Gee, and wunderkind Matt Harvey. That's not a bad looking quintet, and while it's probably the fourth best rotation in the division (behind the Nationals, Phillies, and Braves in whatever order), it's nowhere near as dire of a rotation as some teams in the league. While Marcum is essentially replacing RA Dickey in the New York rotation, he's not likely not going to be anywhere near as productive as Dickey was last season, when he won the NL Cy Young award.
But signing Marcum, while it won't help the Mets win a championship, is a good move from the Mets. With Santana, Marcum, and Gee all having injury problems in 2012, New York needed a little depth in the rotation (even if the injury-plagued Marcum is that depth), and shouldn't be pressured to rush uber-prospect Zach Wheeler or former top prospect turned enigma Jenrry Mejia into the major league rotation. I'm a little stunned that Marcum didn't get more interest this winter from any of the several other teams across the league that needed rotation help, but the Mets made a nice move here in my opinion.