Shaun Marcum signs, Hairston departs, Mets still in running for Bourn

Thursday we learned that the Mets signed Shaun Marcum to a one-year deal and today we learned the terms – one year, $4 million plus up to two million in incentives. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence but FanGraphs lists Marcum’s 2012 season – 124 IP, 3.70 ERA – as being worth $6.2 million dollars.

There’s many ways to spin a contract when it’s signed and here’s mine on Marcum – The Mets think there’s a reasonable chance he’ll be able to provide some innings in 2013 but they wrote incentives into the deal because there are enough questions surrounding him that it’s not realistic to expect even 120-something IP.

My question is: Did the Mets offer this deal to old friend Chris Young or was Marcum the preferred option between the two? In Marcum’s final eight starts of 2012, he had a 4.32 ERA in 41.2 IP. Meanwhile, in Young’s final eight starts, he had a 3.09 ERA in 46.2 IP. This is not a cherry-picked start point. Instead, it’s when Marcum returned from the DL and all of his outings until the end of the year.

Marcum made two trips to the DL last year and has a history of elbow problems. Young has his own injury history, but he took a regular turn in the rotation since being inserted there on June 5th and did his best pitching of the year down the stretch.

No one will ever accuse me of being a Young fan. However, I find it curious that the Mets offered this much money to Marcum, who at least on the surface seems to be just as much an injury risk as Young. Perhaps the Mets are banking on the move from Miller Park to Citi Field to be a successful one for Marcum. But I would be curious to know if the Mets made a similar offer to Young.

SHOVELING THE … SNOW WITH PAVANO – Perhaps the best part about the Mets coming to terms with Marcum is that it should end the pointless pursuit of Carl Pavano. Since an 18-win, 3.00 ERA season in 2004, Pavano has had just one year with an ERA under 4.30 and in the last seven years he has a 4.59 ERA and a 1.340 WHIP. Last year he had a 6.00 ERA before being shut down after 63 IP.

And not only does Pavano lose a suitor with the Mets going elsewhere, he also severely damaged his chances of getting a guaranteed contract when he ruptured his spleen while shoveling snow. It never ceases to amaze me the dumb things that rich athletes do. Pavano has made in excess of $71 million in his career but he wouldn’t pay some neighbor’s kid to shovel his snow?

BYE-BYE HAIRSTON – After receiving a one year, $1.2 million offer to return to the Mets for a third season, free agent Scott Hairston finally landed the multi-year deal he was seeking from the Cubs, as they inked the veteran outfielder to a two-year, $6 million deal. Not quite the 2/$8 that I predicted during the latter stages of the 2012 season, but significantly better than what the Mets were offering. It always felt like the Mets considered Hairston nothing more than a fall-back option so hopefully this means the club has bigger fish to fry in the outfield.

BOURN TO RUN FOR THE METS? – While the Marcum news was the big official item coming from the Mets this past week, there were renewed and intensified rumors surrounding Michael Bourn. The club is investigating having MLB amend its compensation rules. Currently, a team having one of the top 10 picks does not have to forfeit its first-round selection if it signs a free agent whose former club extended a qualifying offer.

The Mets finished with the 10th-worst record but currently have the 11th pick because the Pirates are receiving a compensation pick at #9 for their failure to sign their 2012 first-round pick. This is a situation that should have been easy to forecast ahead of time and language should have been written into the new CBA addressing this point.

Yet it was not addressed and now there is controversy. MLB is unlikely to rule on the issue before Bourn signs with a team, so if the Mets are adamant about holding on to their spot at #11, they will not be able to sign Bourn. Earlier I mentioned how I thought the Mets should go ahead and sign Bourn regardless of losing the #11 pick and the possibility that they might only lose their second-round selection just makes it more appealing for the Mets.

METS BRING BACK INJURED LEFTY – The Mets also welcomed back lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano. You might recall that Feliciano was the club’s workhorse LOOGY before Tim Byrdak. Feliciano gave the Mets many good years out of the pen and when he left, they received a compensation pick that turned into Michael Fulmer. As if that wasn’t good enough, he signed with the Yankees and did not throw a pitch in the majors for them for the duration of his two-year deal.

Now Byrdak and Feliciano can rehab together in their quest to get back to the majors. Can’t you just see the Cheshire cat grins from Alderson, Collins and Warthen as they imagine a bullpen with four lefties? The fun they could have with mid-inning pitching changes if Byrdak and Feliciano could team in the pen with Robert Carson and Josh Edgin! And whatever you do, don’t spoil their pleasant daydreams with reminders of how many innings that the rest of the bullpen will have to absorb…

22 comments for “Shaun Marcum signs, Hairston departs, Mets still in running for Bourn

  1. TJ
    January 25, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Brian,
    Marcum is clearly an injury risk, and his pitching after the elbow issue is a cause for concern. However, if ther wasn’t a questoin about his health he would not be a Met. He is a solid pitcher, has done wekk in the hitter-friendly AL East, and his road stats the last two years, away from the Brewer Park hitting paradise, are very strong. This is a good risk/reward signing, but nothing to rave about.
    Also, Feliciano says he is 100% healthy, so I suspect spring training will determine if he has anything left. Byrdak will need to find another buddy. Maybe Brian Wilson.

  2. Name
    January 25, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    I’m really surprised that Marcum got so little, especially on a one year deal.
    I know he’s not a guranteed to be healthy, but when he is, he pitches like a #2. Young pitches more like a 4/5 when he is healthy now.

    • Jerry Grote
      January 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      I thought the Marcum signing was one of the best of the off-season by any team … realistically, how many players were signed to contracts at $1.25MM per WAR? It separates Sandy Alderson from others and from us.

      I couldn’t be happier with Alderson. He stood tall about not giving Hairston playing time, he got someone presumably capable of 200 IP and about 3 WAR, and he’s on the cusp of getting the best CFer available in free agency.

      Cross your fingers.

      • January 25, 2013 at 8:47 pm

        I’m withholding judgment on the Marcm deal. I recognize the potential, both in what he’s done when healthy in the past along with what he could do in more of a pitcher’s park. But he remains a huge injury risk – he’s had two full seasons and four partial seasons in his career – and even if he is healthy, can he get back to what he was before the latest injuries? Isn’t it at least a bit of a concern that the two teams that had him previously showed zero interest in bringing him back?

        It could very well be a move that we end up patting Alderson on the back for at the end of the year. I’m just not ready to do that in January.

        Just heard that he could make a total of $8 million with incentives.

        • Name
          January 25, 2013 at 9:07 pm

          I’m just really surprised he got the same base as Mike Pelfrey. Either there is something really wrong with him that is scaring other teams away, or the Twins really overpaid for Pelfrey.

          • January 25, 2013 at 11:12 pm

            Pelfrey’s more durable, Marcum’s more likely to be the better pitcher if he can stay healthy and pitch as many innings. They get the same base and Marcum makes more in incentives. Makes perfect sense to me.

  3. NormE
    January 25, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    The problem with Young is that he doesn’t give you enough innings per start. This puts added stress on the bullpen which isn’t desirable.
    Hopefully, a healthy Marcum can go longer in his starts.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mets do sign Young. If both Young and Marcum are healthy it gives the team flexibility to make a trade.

  4. January 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    It’s not like teams are leapfrogging each other to sign Young. So that being the case then you could always offer him a minor league contract if the Mets chose to. As for Bourn I have been consistently hoping for Met management to sign him. See what we have now and project that into the future. Are these kids going to be better than Bourn? If not, then you should find a way to sign him to a four year contract and ease the lack of uncertainty in the outfield. It’s not going to matter what pitcher the Mets sign if they don’t have a decent center fielder who can cover the gaps and the mistakes from guys like Duda and company. Bourn will lead off and put pressure on opposing teams with his base stealing ability and drop Tejada to the 2 spot where he is better suited.

  5. Metsense
    January 25, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Marcum signs for 4M (6M with incentives). Tom Gorzellany for 2 years at 5.7M or 2.85 per year.Jeff Karstens signs for 2.5M for 1 year. Chris Young is still unsigned. I realize that Marcum is the superior pitcher of the group but he is signed as a one year place keeper as a fifth starter.He is also an injury risk. For depth, and the fact that it is a fifth starter, the Mets could have signed two of the other three and would have added more stability to the rotation. But that is spilled milk and Marcum is the best of what remained and at a fair price.
    Hairston was their best outfielder and at 2 years for 6M should have been signed. At the worst he would have been a good 4th outfielder.
    Bourne seems like a fit for the Mets, especially if Duda is in left and RF is up for grabs. Bourne has been the best defensive CF over the past three years. If they can get him for 15M a year he would be a value because his past 4 years of 20.1 WAR factors to 22.5M a year. Even when factoring in a regression he should still prove to be a value.
    To conclude, a few good players messed up their careers from shoveling “snow”.

    • Metsense
      January 26, 2013 at 7:36 am

      Just wanted to add that Colorado, Oakland, and Arizona have a surplus of outfielders that could be traded for to improve the 2013 Mets. It may mean trading a prospect but then you keep the 1st round choice. Pick your poison but something needs to be done.

      • January 26, 2013 at 10:31 am

        To get an OF from those clubs – we have to give up prospect(s) that will likely make the majors. And that’s more preferable than the #11 pick, who is unlikely to ever make an impact? I went through the #11 picks in the draft from 1980 to last year. That’s 33 years worth of picks and more than half of them were busts. Many more made the majors and did nothing. There’s about a 75% chance that the guy we draft at #11 will have a forgettable or less impact at the MLB level.

        Don Schulze, Mike Sodders, Steve Stanicek, Dave Clark, Shane Mack, Walt Weiss, Thomas Howard, Lee Tinsley, Pat Combs, Calvin Murray Shane Andrews, Shawn Estes, Derek Wallace, Daron Kirkreit, Mark Farris, Mike Drumright, Adam Eaton, Chris Enochs, Josh McKinley and Ryan Christianson.

        This is what you’re afraid of losing?

        • January 26, 2013 at 11:22 am

          To be fair, the new CBA forces clubs to not only take into account the actual pick they lose but also the money allotted for that pick. The loss of the first round money could have a significant impact on the rest of the draft.

          • January 26, 2013 at 11:52 am

            In my opinion, this is backwards thinking. So, you want to go cheap with your first round pick, where presumably you sign the best player, so that you can have more money to sign lower round picks? The Mets did this last year and it worked out, in my opinion, horribly.

            They went cheap in the first round and took a player who clearly was not the best guy available and saved $250,000. This was such a feather in their cap that they could not sign their second round pick, even with the extra money they “saved” by not grabbing the best player in the first round.

            • January 26, 2013 at 11:57 am

              The Mets were not the only team to take this route in the first draft with the new CBA, though. It seems many teams are feeling it out.

              Also, I don’t necessarily agree with this strategy. Just pointing out the other downside to losing that pick :) . But I agree in that it did not go so well last year…

    • Chris F
      January 26, 2013 at 8:59 am

      I agree completely Metsense.

      • Chris F
        January 26, 2013 at 9:06 am

        I would also add that I’m still split on Bourn: signing him for a year or two is a waste of money, but going for the full meal deal, at 15M/yr for 5 years is right on. In that window, the Mets become relevant. Also, with OF depth on those teams, it is worth looking at our prospects, like Wilmer, that could be traded for a similar talent level OFer.

  6. ronbo
    January 26, 2013 at 7:48 am

    I do not know what the Mets are waiting for when it comes to signing Bourne who cares about the 11th pick there is to where it is written that this pick will eventually be a player for us but we do know what Bourne brings a excellent defensive centerfielder a 270 plus BA can be a leadoff batter that can steal a base and can score from second on a single with his speed.As it stands now with how the outfield looks they will be fielding a Minor league trio,put with Bourne in center with his speed he can cover the gaps and be a huge help to whom ever ends up in right or left field.Sandy pull the trigger and sign him up!!!

  7. January 26, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Marcum is a risk, but a good one I feel. He’s been called a placeholder, which in reality is probably true. Assuming Wheeler makes the final adjustments and gets the call this summer, it will look great. I would imagine Collins, assuming no one in the rotation is injured or traded, may even go to a six man rotation at some point. This would help limit innings for the youngsters (Harvey, Wheeler) and the injury risks (Santana, Marcum, Gee (?)).

    Speaking of injuries, things could go bad here. I mean, think about it. Santana: injury risk. Marcum: injury risk. Gee: coming off of injury. Niese: is his heart problem good from here on out? Is Gee really fine?

    If you look at the situation from that point of view, things could go REALLY wrong for the Mets in 2013 with regards to the rotation. Here’s to hoping….

  8. January 26, 2013 at 9:33 am

    As far as Bourn goes, I am still torn on this one. I am against it if they end up losing their 11th pick. Obviously prospects are just prospects no matter where they are picked, but Bourn really isn’t all that good. At least, he’s not worth the asking price (including money, years, and the loss of the pick).

    Of course, beggars can’t be choosers at this point I guess, but I’d rather the Mets traded for an outfielder or two rather than pull an Omar. Especially if they don’t realistically expect to compete in 2013 or even 2014. If FA isn’t appetizing (especially after the 2013), you have the possibility that some of the prospects currently in the system raise their stock enough so that you can trade for an impact OF or two.

  9. January 26, 2013 at 11:36 am

    So which poison do you prefer? I’ll take Bourn with all the risks he might bring as oppose to adding more youth(inexperience) to an already shaky outfield. At least show the fan base that as an organization you are trying to compete in 2013. Looking at what comprises the Mets right now do you think they’ll even draw 2 million next year? They couldn’t even get fans to come and watch Dickey try for his 20th win.

  10. TP
    January 26, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Not sure what it would take to sign Bourn, but if they can get him for Pagan money or slightly more I would do it. I know this risks the #11 pick, but they have a case to preserve this pick. They first need to agree with Bourn. I would prefer 3 years but it may take a 4th. A 5th year to me is a deal breaker. The need to find a professional leadoff hitter and strong CF glove somewhere. Fowler is a nice alternative but he would cost multiple prospects.

    • January 26, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      To TP. Bourn was looking for Upton type money(15 million average for 5 years). He turned down a qualifying offer to play for 13 million so you can forget about signing him to a Pagan type deal. At his age(30) and with his agent being Scott Boras I would imagine they will hold out for minimum 60 million or more for 4 years. It’s probably going to be his last big contract so I can’t blame him for holding out and yet I don’t see to may options remaining out there for him. If he is able to cut down on his strikeouts the risk is well worth taking.

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