Mets Take a Chance on Shaun Marcum

 The New York Mets first significant player acquisition finally happened this week, when they signed former Blue Jays and Brewers starter Shaun Marcum.  Marcum's signing fits a pattern that the Mets have seemingly pioneered in recent winters... bringing in formerly successful but recently injured or struggling pitchers in the hopes of seeing them return to form.

When Shaun Marcum was last seen pitching in a big league ballgame, he was taking a pounding in his third consecutive post-season start. After losing to Arizona in the NLDS and twice to St. Louis in the NLCS (and failing to make it to the fifth inning in any of the starts) Marcum's Brewer career was over.

The 31-year-old righty, who had missed two months of the 2012 campaign with a sore elbow, still had managed to put together a winning record, as he had done in his last five seasons.  He boasts a career won-lost of 57-36, and a very serviceable 1.224 WHIP.  Injuries, however, have pockmarked his career, and caused some teams concern this winter when he was available.

Marcum, a Missouri native, has made at least 30 starts only twice in his career.  Both of those seasons, however, came AFTER he was forced to miss the entire 2009 Blue Jays' season while recovering from the procedure known as Tommy John Surgery.  He was traded to the Brewers following his successful 2010 return for top prospect Brett Lawrie.

His 2012 spring training was marred by shoulder soreness, but Marcum was ready for the season opener.
He developed a "tight" elbow in June.  After sitting out some 60 games, he was able to pitch six innings in only three of his eight subsequent starts, although Milwaukee did win five of those games.

Marcum’s deal with the Mets will not be completed until he passes a physical examination.  Chris Young and former Brewers Chris Capuano and Ben Sheets (with Atlanta) have taken similar paths, signing on the cheap for one year and contributing to their new teams while re-establishing their abilities and values.  With R.A. Dickey gone to Toronto, the Mets are hoping Shaun can do so as well and fill a big part of their void.

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