Shaun’s Gone: Marcum to Milwaukee

Land in Florida, check into the hotel, turn on the television, trade Shaun Marcum.

That might not be exactly how Alex Anthopoulos’ itinerary went on Sunday evening, but that certainly seems how it went down. The Winter Meetings aren’t even officially underway yet, and already the Blue Jays dropped a bomb on us.

All indications point to Shaun Marcum being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for second base prospect Brett Lawrie. Marcum was a great pitcher for the Blue Jays, but he was the expendable arm in the starting rotation.


I’ve always liked Shaun Marcum and he was my favourite pitchers on the staff. He didn’t overpower hitters, but instead Marcum was a finesse pitcher and location was his weapon of choice.

Shaun turns 29 next week, but compared to the rest of the starting staff, he may as well be 35. Marcum had two more arbitration eligible years left under team control.

In return the Blue Jays receive the Brewers second best prospect (as of last year) according to Baseball America. Here’s what Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin had to say about Lawrie earlier this year:

“When Brett was drafted, he was drafted for his bat. It wasn’t firm where he was going to play, and [second base] might not be his last position, either. He’s athletic enough to play a couple of positions.”

These are promising words from within the Brewers organization, and shows Lawrie’s versatility that he could probably play either of the corner infield positions, second base, or even revert back to catcher if he so chooses.

Some folks are suspecting this move signaled a Zack Greinke trade with the Royals is imminent and that the Blue Jays are loading up on prospects so they can swing a deal with Kansas City.

If that’s the case, why wouldn’t the Blue Jays just deal Shaun Marcum to the Royals in a package for Zack Greinke? Marcum may only be under team control for two more years, but that’s still pretty enticing.

I still have a tough time believing Toronto is targeting Zack Greinke because even with Shaun Marcum gone now, starting pitching is not something the organization needs to be concerned about right now.

Does it really make sense to jeopardize the long-term success of this team to get Zack Greinke? He’s only under contract for two more years anyway, and it’s not like he’s cheap: $12.5 million is a steep price to pay for someone who isn’t necessarily a bonafide ace, but is definitely paid like one.

Regardless, I have a suspicion that the Shaun Marcum trade is only the tip of the iceberg and Alex Anthopoulos will be a very busy man at the Winter Meetings this week.


Shaun, I enjoyed your work as member of the Toronto Blue Jays and I will miss your ever-changing facial hair styles. Best of luck pitching like a man in Milwaukee.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

7 thoughts on “Shaun’s Gone: Marcum to Milwaukee

  • December 6, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Let's see, where to begin with this? Let's try it this way:

    Brett Lawrie:

    In my opinion, Lawrie immediately becomes the Jays best prospect, yes folks, better than Kyle Drabek. In fact I like Lawrie better than anyone the Padres are rumoured to get in the Adrian Gonzalez deal. That being said, prospects are never a sure thing.

    Lawrie's Defense:

    I've read what everyone else has, that there are questions about Brett Lawrie's defense and he may have to be moved off second base to either 3B or LF. Let's hope that he can stay at 2B, because the does significantly increase his value. On another note, I remember the Brewers talking about moving Lawrie to catcher, I guess that is out the window?


    I don't think we should start bashing Marcum's value now that he's no longer a Blue Jay, he has been consistently a good pitcher and I expect he will put up some very good numbers with Milwuakee over the next two seasons. This deal may on the surface look really bad this season after what we see what Marcum does for the Brewers.

    That being said, Marcum comes with a lot of risks, he has had a major surgery, is two years away from free agency and doesn't have the 'stuff' you would like to see in your ace.

    Alex Anthopoulos:

    I've got to admit, this kind of deal takes a lot of balls and shows that he's not going to be swayed by public opinion or an overachieving 2010 Blue Jays. I for one respect him for sticking with his plan and think he has a realistic opinion on what to expect from this team on 2011.

    Overview of the deal:

    Considering all aspects including:
    – Jays are dealing from a position of strength
    – Jays are selling 'High' on Marcum (his value would only decline from this point until free agency if the Jays were to have kept him)
    – Marcum probably wasn't going to be with the Jays for more than the next two years.
    – The Jays got one of the top prospects in baseball, arguably the second best 2nd base prospect next to Dustin Ackley
    – The Jays need to add quality bats

    I say this was a good deal for the Jays, it may not work out, but it's the kind of deal they should be making if they aren't going to spend the big bucks this season.

  • December 6, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Peter D, I don't know if Lawrie becomes the Blue Jays best prospect (since he had a bit of a down year in AA this year), but he's certainly up there.

    Just the fact that Toronto managed to get the Brewers to give up one of their top prospects for a starting pitcher who only has 2 years of team control is astounding.

    Even if Lawrie doesn't work out, I think this trade is still a win for the Blue Jays because I don't see Marcum signing an extension. He doesn't really fit the mold of the young pitchers which are locked up to long term years and until team control for many years to come.

  • December 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Ian, the fact that Lawrie had a down year is a bit of a misconception in my opinion. Given the fact he only turned 20 this year his season was very good for someone in double A.

  • December 6, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Peter D, by no means am I writing Lawrie off at all – if anything, that probably helped the Jays pry Lawrie away from Milwaukee. Looks like the future will be bright for this kid, the real question is where the heck are the Blue Jays going to put him? Second base/third base/first base/catcher/outfield?

  • December 6, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    I wouldn't mind if Lawrie moves to third – the Jays have a second baseman, after all, and few 3B prospects. By the way, this sets Bautista up for a one-year move to third (with Davis playing every day) before he gets his nine-figure deal from the Nationals…

  • December 6, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    And I'm with Peter – I don't consider Lawrie's year to be a "down" year for the very reason Peter cited – his age. Those numbers in AA at age 20 are pretty fantastic.

  • December 6, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Xave, you're right – we shouldn't figure Bautista into the long term plans of this team. Just my hunch, but I think this coming year will be his last as a Blue Jay. Good to know that Lawrie has some versatility and play several infield positions.

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