Ed Coleman first reported on WFAN that starting pitcher Shaun Marcum is done for the year. “It hasn’t been announced here today, but it’s coming shortly. He’s pitched his last game with the Mets”
True enough, Marc Carig of Newsday has confirmed the news and is reporting that Marcum has been diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and will have surgery on Monday to repair a blocked artery. He will be out 2-3 months and possibly miss the rest of the season.
Marcum had been dealing with tingling and numbness in his fingers related to pain in his upper back and shoulder.
Tough break for Marcum and we at MMO wish him well.
Original Post 7/7
The Shaun Marcum reclamation project may have run its course. In a bid to flip a distressed property for a profit the Met front office took a chance on an old acquaintance of J.P. Ricciardi, bringing the well traveled 31 year old righthander to New York. Marcum was signed to a $4 million dollar contract with an additional 4 $million available through incentives. It seemed like a good idea at the time, even considering the worrisome injury history replete with every arm and shoulder ailment conceivable. Why? Because Marcum has managed to win, when healthy, in just about every place he’s pitched. When he’s been able to take the mound, he is excellent, and the Mets believed Marcum would be healthy.
Although he began the year on the DL, Marcum has managed to make 11 starts and two gutsy performances out of the bullpen. If things had gone according to plan Marcum would be something like 6 -3 with maybe a just under 4.00 ERA. Marcum would have become the suddenly valuable property in the suddenly trendy neighborhood you could flip for a hefty profit. Didn’t work out that way. He’s been equal parts unlucky, poorly supported, inconsistent, and awful, posting a 5.29 ERA, a 1.35 WHIP, with more hits than innings pitched and a 1-10 record. Ouch. This property isn’t moving anywhere anytime soon.
It would have been sweet to unload Marcum at the trade deadline for a decent outfield prospect knowing we already have a host of promising arms in the minors waiting for the call, but oh well, that’s how the cookie crumbles. So what now? Trade for peanuts? Non-tender? Demote? Outright? Marcum may yet turn things around, but plugging him into the rotation is almost certainly preventing some kid (Montero?) from cutting his teeth on the big stage. Yeah, I know it still might be nice to build up some minimal value for Marcum, but it’s getting to be too late for even the most marginal return and watching him lose games with alarming regularity is not helping him or his team’s future.
Last night, Marcum refused to let Anthony Recker, who had been on something of a hot streak, catch for him after the lineup had already been posted. This created a bit of an awkward situation. In reading between the lines you got the sense that Terry Collins felt the need to explain his player’s intransigence by needlessly bringing up the fact that Marcum had a long history with John Buck dating back to Toronto. It was an odd moment.
It gets worse. Apparently Marcum is not the nicest hamster in the habitat. The first warning was his oddly confrontational response to a question about an MRI last week where he said, “That’s for me and the club, I don’t know why you guys think you need to know everything.” Another red flag is the stream of information that’s trickled out of Toronto which places Marcum at the center of a clubhouse mutiny. There was this quote on the Drunk Jays Fans website:
Here’s Jeff Blair speaking on his Fan 590 show this week, pouring water on anything resembling the potential reuniting of Marcum and the Jays (audio here)…
“Ah… there are extenuating circumstances with Shaun Marcum– no chance that he’s back here,” he explained. “I think the Blue Jays thought that there were some things going on in the clubhouse when he was there that they didn’t necessarily like. Shaun Marcum is definitely not coming back here, not as long as Alex Anthopoulos is General Manager, put it that way.”
Marcum reportedly was hoping to sign with the Jays at a reasonable price but Anthopoulos turned it down, thereby gifting him to Ricciardi and the Mets. Beware of Greeks and their gifts as they say!
That Marcum is occasionally rude and that he partakes in a cocktail or seven isn’t anything new in the annals of major league player exploits, but even so a comment by a member of the Milwaukee press yesterday took me aback. It is difficult for me to explain the specifics of the exchange which was triggered by a discussion of Marcum’s MRI comments without violating press room etiquette and discretion so I will only say that it didn’t sound good, and that this sort of behavior was nothing new to the Milwaukee press. None of the comments were contested and there seemed to be a broad consensus among the Brewer writers that Marcum was one of the most difficult players they’d ever dealt with. Apparently he was right up there with Marco Estrada — which is not a good thing.
But in the end the truth is that Marcum’s off-field antics and his rudeness don’t really matter much. Sportswriters are as petty and fickle as any of us and have been known to create mountains out of molehills before and this would certainly be a non-issue if Marcum were pitching well (as would his refusal to pitch to Recker). What does matter is Marcum’s performance and the fact that he’s blocking some promising young players in the pitching pipeline.
You have to wonder with Marcum whether you are hoping against hope that you will squeeze some value from a commodity that may be worth less than what you paid for it, which may be losing value with every loss and every ache and pain and tingle in the fingers, and which may be bringing the neighborhood down as well. In the end, your best bet may be to cut your losses and move on. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to bring in the wrecking ball.
I’ll be watching and reporting from the press booth at Miller Park for today’s finale as the Mets send young Jeremy Hefner to the mound for the rubber match and hopefully a series win.
Thoughts from Joe D.
Thanks for the added insights you got from the other beat writers, Matt. There were a lot of high hopes for Marcum when we signed him, even for a pitcher who was still on the scrap heap and one of the last players to sign a major league contract before spring training began. By the time John Buck pleaded with J.P. Ricciardi to sign his best friend, it was already January 30th. The Recker thing didn’t bother me as much. Both Buck and Marcum won’t be coming back and they’ve been a combo meal since day one.
However, I always wonder what the other catcher feels like after seeing his name on the lineup card all day, and then watching his manager rip it down 45 minutes before game time to post another one with someone else’s name on it rather than yours? And then being told that your teammate preferred to pitch to someone else rather than you?
I find it interesting that Terry Collins would allow a player to make that call and usurp what the manager felt was the team’s best chance to win that day.
Marcum has the worst ERA on the Mets pitching staff – rotation and bullpen included – and takes home the biggest paycheck. And that check will keep getting bigger and bigger from this point on.
A whopping 99 starting pitchers in the National League alone have a better ERA than Marcum does this morning. I didn’t bother to check the American League as that NL tidbit alone was distasteful enough for me. That pretty much says that any pitcher in the game right now would be an improvement over Marcum…. Trade value? What trade value?
For a guy who should be thankful for every start the Mets still give him, his attitude bugs the crap out of me. I can’t stand people who whine and gripe all the time, and when it’s a player who gets paid millions like he does I hate it that much worse. Marcum is a square peg, a black sheep, a not so nice teammate (unless you’re John Buck), and a constant griper who snaps at questions he doesn’t like.
I now understand why he was the last starting pitcher standing in free agency this Winter and why nobody save the Mets came knocking – and they only did so because of his association with John Buck… If not for that, we most likely would have had a chance to see Rafael Montero make the jump to the majors by now.