Updated by Joe D. on 6/21
Adam Rubin for ESPN New York, hit on something we have been discussing here for some time now, and actually posted about yesterday… That is that Shaun Marcum can earn up to an additional $4 million in bonuses based on innings pitched and time on the roster.
I took to Twitter yesterday and had a discussion about it with Stephen Keane and Michael Baron. Unfortunately our tweets are broken up in the timeline, but here is what I had to say about Marcum.
Some seem to think that Marcum will have some value at the trade deadline. But how can that be when he was still available on January 30th when he signed with the Mets, based mostly on the suggestion of best friend John Buck to Paul DePodesta?
If any of the other 29 teams had no interest in Marcum during the offseason, why would they be interested in him now with a career worst ERA nearing 6.00, injury concerns, and taking on all those incentive bonuses that will soon start kicking in?
Further more, why would they give up anything of value to get him?
They could have had him without having to give up a prospect, and yet not one team besides the Mets made him an offer.
In 1962 it was Bob Miller, in ’93 it was Anthony Young, and now in 2013 there is Shaun Marcum. With last night’s unsightly loss to the Braves, Marcum now holds the third worst record to start a season in franchise history at 0-9. Granted that he hasn’t exactly had a great deal of run support behind him, the 31-year old hasn’t held up his end of the bargain all season long. If it comes down to Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner or Shaun Marcum once this six-man rotation experiment ends, the choice has got to be Marcum.
If his record isn’t enough of an indication of his poor performance this year, the rest of his stats should be. Aside from being winless in late June, Marcum has had just three quality starts in 2013, sporting a 5.76 ERA. Opposing batters are hitting a cool .278 against him, a higher average than any Met batter not named David Wright or Daniel Murphy. Marcum may be throwing strikes, his walks are at a career low 1.8 BB/9, but that doesn’t matter very much if those pitches are not effectively executed.
The fact of the matter is Marcum has been ineffective for the better part of the year, and from what he told reporters last night, he agrees.
“You go through stretches where that happens,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s been a two-and-a-half-month ordeal for me so far.
“Today I didn’t feel like I located anything,” said Marcum. “Changeup was up in the zone. Cutter was more flat today. Even some of them backed up a little bit. My fastball, I haven’t located that probably from Day 1. I feel like I haven’t been able to throw that anywhere I’ve wanted to. If you can’t locate your fastball, it makes it difficult to pitch.”
Marcum has been the victim of some bad luck, however sometimes that is the nature of the beast. Baseball is a ‘what have you done for me now?’ type of game, and lately, Marcum hasn’t done much. Meanwhile, his competition for the final two rotation spots in Gee and Hefner have done plenty to show that they deserve to start. Hefner has had quality starts in five of his last six outings and Gee has posted a 1.50 ERA since the Subway Series.
Both are likely going to be a part of the 2014 team in some fashion, and Marcum most certainly will not be. In a season that is all but about next year, it is time to get rid of the unproductive stopgaps and let the kids play.
The only reason for Marcum to remain in the rotation is for potential trade value, however even if he goes on a tear in his next four outings, are the Mets really going to get that much from him in return? The more they keep him in the rotation, the more expensive it gets with every outing. His base salary is $4 million, but his incentives give him a chance to double that figure.
As the innings mount for Marcum, so too does his paycheck. If for nothing else, why keep paying for a low quality return? Less is more, and that less is Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner, not Shaun Marcum.