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  • Is Marcum the Twins' Best Hope?

    Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com reported via Twitter on Tuesday that the Twins have "checked in" on right-handed pitcher Shaun Marcum. This isn't really noteworthy, since Terry Ryan has already told reporters that he's been in contact with the agents for every free agent starter, but Marcum's name in particular is an interesting one.

    Most of the pitchers that the Twins have been specifically connected to thus far – names like Joe Blanton, Brett Myers and John Lannan – are the usual suspects: bargain bin hurlers with middle-of-the-rotation upside and out-of-the-rotation downside. (Of course, "bargain bin" might be a misnomer in this market, even if it includes names like those.)

    But of course, if they want to even feign contention next year, the Twins are going to need to land at least one guy who could conceivably perform at the level of a No. 1 or No. 2 above Scott Diamond. And given the need to fill multiple rotation spots, they're going to have to find a way to do it without coughing up the vast majority of available funds on one player.

    So it is easy to see why Ryan might view someone like Marcum as his best bet to land a potential high-end guy, especially with Dan Haren now off the table after signing a one-year, $13 million deal with Washington. Haren was available at a relatively low guaranteed sum due to concerns about the condition of his arm, and the same will likely be true for Marcum. He missed about two months this season due to elbow soreness, which has been a problem for him in the past. (He missed the 2009 season due to Tommy John surgery.)

    Marcum pitched very well around that injury, turning in a 3.77 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 109-to-41 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 124 innings. In the prior two seasons, he had totaled about 200 innings each with a 3.59 ERA and 1.15 WHIP overall. Since his surgery, he's been consistently effective on the mound. He strikes people out at a solid rate, throws it in the zone and is quite tough to hit (.241 career OBA).

    Based on the numbers Marcum looks like a slam-dunk, but that vague elbow tightness from this past summer is concerning, especially for a club that has seen no shortage of arm injuries and is looking for reliability above all else in its additions to the rotation.

    Of course, the elbow issue could also be a blessing in disguise, because it might be just enough to scare away contending teams from matching a high offer. If the Twins are able to sign Marcum and he stays healthy, he's a legitimate centerpiece to the rotation.

    Spending fairly big bucks on that gamble is… well, a gamble. But in this environment, what isn't?
    This article was originally published in blog: Is Marcum the Twins' Best Hope? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 29 Comments
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Gamble ya but you got to find someone better than this.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Everything free agent is a gamble basically, I wouldnt say Marcum is the Center piece to a rotation. In my mind hes a number 3 pitcher. I would love to have him, but he will probably get more than he is worth, im sure the Twins wont spend somewhere around 20 million for 2 years on a guy like Marcum.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      It would be good if he wasn't THE BEST HOPE, but the guy would be a very good addition. He fits well for the Twins and Target Field and does manage to strike more people out than what one might expect. I would find it ridiculous to be out-bid on Marcum. A Pavanoesque deal plus inflation might do it, and he is significantly better than Pavano. 2/20 and an option year with 2 million buyout seems easy for the Twins to do. The Twins should have $30 million to spend if ownership wants to. There are great smart pitching moves to be made for that money. AND AGAIN, the dollars are dropping after this season with Morneau, Blackburn, and Carroll off . . . so that 23 million reduction for next year should factor into this. Dempster and Marcum, Jackson and Marcum. Money should be no object there. And they would provide the key for 2014 and 2015.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Please no Dempster(too old). Would love Marcum for 2 - 3 years. Would help the blow of the rest of the pitchers the Twins are likely to sign.
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      I'm beginning to think that signing Marcum, or any other pseudo-big name this off-season is a bad move. I prefer the idea of moving Revere, staying away from big money guys and building for 2014+

      -P
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      And then spending money in 2014? Why not spend some now? Or do you have another plan for getting players in 2014?
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      I'm all for getting Marcum. He's a good pitcher.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      It would be good if he wasn't THE BEST HOPE, but the guy would be a very good addition. He fits well for the Twins and Target Field and does manage to strike more people out than what one might expect. I would find it ridiculous to be out-bid on Marcum. A Pavanoesque deal plus inflation might do it, and he is significantly better than Pavano. 2/20 and an option year with 2 million buyout seems easy for the Twins to do. The Twins should have $30 million to spend if ownership wants to. There are great smart pitching moves to be made for that money. AND AGAIN, the dollars are dropping after this season with Morneau, Blackburn, and Carroll off . . . so that 23 million reduction for next year should factor into this. Dempster and Marcum, Jackson and Marcum. Money should be no object there. And they would provide the key for 2014 and 2015.
      I agree... Although I have condensed my hope to just one arm. I do agree. This waiting for something to happen is hard.

      It would be nice if I could be multiple fly's on multiple walls providing no one has a fly swatter.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Marcum might be the highest rank pitcher the Twins can sign without grossly overpaying
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      He seem like the high end of what the Twins will realistically get. I'm not sure if that qualifies as a 'best hope' or not, though.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Maybe the Twins' crack medical staff believes they've spotted something in Marcum's medical history that they believe they can fix. #sarcasm
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Jim is on fire across threads.....
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Jim is on fire across threads.....
      Shhhhh... my bosses think all this typing I'm doing means I'm working my butt off!

      Actually, one of my bosses is in Dallas and the other in Los Angeles... which probably does partially explain how I can get away with this
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pleiss View Post
      I'm beginning to think that signing Marcum, or any other pseudo-big name this off-season is a bad move. I prefer the idea of moving Revere, staying away from big money guys and building for 2014+
      2015, more like. And then you have to have somebody to do more than simply fill out the roster for those two years - you can't commit to 110-loss seasons, this market will quit on you if you did. Contracts have to be viewed in that light. I'd be all for Dempster except he apparently wants 3 years and he's a risk to be bad by that third year, so no-go. I'm fine with trading Revere but you have to have a cost-effective yet capable replacement in mind until the young'uns are really ready (the alternative being to start the arbitration/free-agent clock prematurely on the guys you want to have contributing after 2015 too, in effect paying arbitration money later on for a 2013 of below-par play by a future stud). And so forth.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
      Actually, one of my bosses is in Dallas and the other in Los Angeles... which probably does partially explain how I can get away with this
      They have teh internets in Dallas and LA too, y'know.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jim crikket View Post
      actually, one of my bosses is in dallas and the other in los angeles... Which probably does partially explain how i can get away with this
      they have teh internets in dallas and la too, y'know.
      ^^^ buzzkill
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
      Actually, one of my bosses is in Dallas and the other in Los Angeles... which probably does partially explain how I can get away with this
      They have teh internets in Dallas and LA too, y'know.
      You'd have to know my bosses. I'm pretty sure the availability of the internet would be news to at least one of them

      Besides... I'm really good at what I do, so they tend to make allowances for some of my less productive "hobbies".
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      While Marcum seems to be a (slight) step up from Edwin Jackson and the rest--I agree with those above--he is at best a weak number 2 (like Diamond). Maybe the best thing for Twins is sign him to a 2 year deal (with 3rd year option) for about 25mill and give DeVries, Deduno, Walters, etc one last shot to show something this year. Hope gibson is good in June and trade at deadline for pitcher.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      What exactly is wrong with a number 2 pitcher, and what do people think those cost?
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS View Post
      In my mind hes a number 3 pitcher.
      On what team, the Phillies?? Seeing him referred to as a No. 3 or a "weak No. 2" tells me that some people have absolutely unrealistic expectations about the rotation. The Twins would be lucky to have a pitcher of his caliber as their top guy next year, as would a number of other teams.
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