Brewers Acquire Shaun Marcum for Brett Lawrie | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

This trade was first broken by Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

This was a win-win trade.

Brewers starting pitching was horrific last season, posting a 4.65 ERA and a 4.43 FIP. Shaun Marcum should be an immediate fix to a rotation with two clear holes heading into the offseason. In a relatively neutral park and in the extraordinarily difficult AL East, Marcum posted a 3.64 ERA and 3.8 bWAR (Baseball-Reference’s implementation) along with a similarly impressive 3.74 FIP and 3.5 fWAR (FanGraphs’s implementation). Marcum is ideally a #3 starter, but he slots in right behind Gallardo, giving this staff a legitimate 1-2 punch that has been lacking since 2008. Although this is certainly no CC-Sheets (or Carpenter-Wainwright) combination, the top of the Brewers rotation now competes quite well with most National League squads. This also allows the Brewers to shift Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson back to #3 and #4 in the rotation, spots that are far more in line their production levels. Marcum is entering his second season of arbitration this season, meaning he will be under team control at reasonable rates for the 2011 and 2012 season, and indications are that the Brewers may attempt to sign him long term.

In order to acquire Marcum, however, the Brewers were forced to part with their top prospect, Brett Lawrie. There’s little doubt about Lawrie’s bat. As a 20 year old in AA, Lawrie posted a .285/.346/.449 line with 30 stolen bases in 609 plate appearances with AA Hunstville. Even though that’s not elite power, the typical 20 year old isn’t able to create those kind of numbers at such a high level. The question for Lawrie is defense – both in the sense of his defensive skill as well as his ultimate positional home. He already busted at catcher and is now considered to be a second baseman. However, Baseball Prospectus’s Kevin Goldstein isn’t convinced.

That makes a big difference in determining Lawrie’s value. A second baseman with the production Lawrie has shown in the minors is almost certainly a star. A left fielder? A useful starter, for sure, but not nearly as special.

Although I think attitude concerns are typically overblown, it would be remiss to not mention Lawrie’s desire to pull out of the Arizona Fall League at the end of his minor league season. Keith Law has mentioned before that Lawrie has had “friction” with coaches, whatever that means. There’s a very good chance that this is meaningless, and talent is talent, but attitude problems are never a good thing.

Marcum has his own red flag. He missed the entire 2009 season with Tommy John surgery, and prior to that, he only managed 150 IP in both 2007 and 2008. Although he did manage 195 IP in 2010, that’s no guarantee going forward. All pitchers are injury risks to start with, and prior injuries are by no means a good sign.

For the Blue Jays, they dealt from a position of strength and receive what could be a major piece in Alex Anthopolous’s attempt to load the team for a run in the dangerous AL East. For the Brewers, they deal into a position of weakness, filling one of their biggest holes in an attempt to, ostensibly, make a run in the easiest division in baseball. Brett Lawrie could become a star, but by the same token, this move could be what it takes to vault Milwaukee into the playoffs. Each team gets what they want here, and in terms of value, I think, as do experts, that both teams received a fair deal here.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Jake Ward says: December 6, 2010

    This is a great trade for the Crew. While I’d like to see the Brewers trade Fielder and build for 2012 and the future I think they are one starter away from making a deep playoff run this season. I just hope that it could continue without Fielder in the lineup.

  2. Dres says: December 8, 2010

    I think this is a solid trade for the Brew’s of Milwaukee. It’s the old adage of proven for not proven. I think this trade is really strong if we lock up Weeks. Marcum is 2 years removed from his surgery and on the right side of thirty. If we lock him up for a few years we should have him through his prime. If we can get a third starter along the same caliber we can push Randy to the 4 spot where he belongs. It’s right to be worried about Marcum being a fly ball pitcher in Miller but Rogers Centre is no Petco and plenty of balls were flying out of there all season and he still came away with his numbers looking good. Batters hit .247 off him last year and he sported a 1.15 whip. I would love to see a third starter, Garza, Greinke (though a long shot), and have Yo, Marcum, and a 3rd starter push each other.

  3. Michael says: December 8, 2010

    Hey Jack,

    I don’t have twitter so I can’t reply to any of your comments on there, but it seems like you’re in favor of signing Pavano (presumably a 3 year deal of $30mm+) just because he’ll help the Brewers next year. I agree, if they could have him on a 1 yr $15mm I would do that in a heart beat because that seems like a pretty fair deal, but I would be nervous about going for more than 2 seasons. Do you think the chance of winning the division next year should prompt the Brewers at adding a non-dominant pitcher (again) on a multi-year deal?

    Ease me off the edge of my roof…

  4. Jaysfan99 says: December 11, 2010

    Being a huge Jays fan I am extremely upset to see Marcum heading to the Brewers. He was an ultimate professional everyday. He was the first to run to the mound after the game congratulating his team, win or loss. This guy dominated American League East lineups on a regular basis, heading to the NL will be a simplar transition for Shaun. The Brewers fan base should be excited to get this guy. He was the opening day starter for Toronto last season and learned from the best pitcher in baseball in Doc Halladay. What alot of people forget to mention is the fact this guy can hit and fields the position better then most. This guy could have broken into the majors as a SS, his position in college. Simply he knows how to play the game at a high level. Good on the Brewers for picking up this guy. I hope AA didn’t bust the chemistry of Toronto’s starting rotation in this trade. Lawrie better get his ego in check, but from what I’ve heard he should be the real deal.

  5. Eric says: December 11, 2010

    - Jaysfaa99 -
    Its hard to say that Marcum ‘dominated’ the AL East.
    His career ERA against AL East teams:
    O’s – 4.33
    RedSox – 4.38
    Yanks – 6.55
    Rays – 3.17

    He was real good against non-East teams though.

  6. Espy M-kee says: December 11, 2010

    Brett Lawrie’s facebook photos are terrifying. This guy is a one-in-a-generation tool. Posting drinking photos and shirts-off close ups and other weirdness doesn’t strike me as anything approaching professional focus or maturity.

    Good for the Brewers getting rid of him – the guy has character risk written all over him.

  7. JT says: December 11, 2010

    I played ball with lawrie and i tell you the blue jays made a terrible trade. Lawrie is a great ball player obviously but he is riding on his high horse all the time. Terrible attitude. Im a huge jays fan and pretty upset one of the most selfish people i have met is on my favorite team…..Do your homework next time you trade marcum (a solid player) for brett “big ego” lawrie


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