The Mets released pitcher Shaun Marcum on Tuesday, officially ending an obviously disappointing season for the 31 year old. One of Sandy Alderson’s big offseason additions, Marcum finished with a dismal record of 1-10 in 12 games started with an ERA of 5.29. The veteran’s season was finished after undergoing shoulder surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition affecting the likes of Josh Beckett and Noah Lowry. Were there signs that Alderson and his team could have read to make them reconsider signing Marcum? The answer is yes.
Sign #1 – Injuries
Plain and simple injuries are not Marcum’s best friend. Coming into the 2013 season, Marcum had missed over 10 months of playing time in his career, and they were all related to his right elbow. Soreness, strain, tightness, and the dreaded Tommy John surgery, all on Marcum’s right elbow. Being notorious recently for having injury-plagued teams, wouldn’t it have been a smart idea for the Mets to avoid injury-plagued players? As it turns out, the Mets took a risk and it backfired, with Marcum’s right elbow acting up again and eventually ending his year.
Sign #2 – Role
The Mets needed a starting pitcher in 2013 to replace the traded R.A. Dickey. Obviously they wouldn’t be able to replace the 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner with someone of that caliber, but they needed a decent pitcher and they “got one” in Shaun Marcum. So here he is, a guy with a career record of 48-36, put in the spot to replace a Cy Young winner. That’s a pretty hard job by my standards. Couldn’t they have taken somebody from the organization – like a Carlos Torres (and look at how he’s pitching), Chris Schwinden or Jenrry Mejia (this is before he was sidelined due to injury) instead? If you think they needed experience, couldn’t they have signed a wily veteran, instead? They may not have been as good as Marcum, but thrusting someone with very little National League experience and iffy numbers at Cti Field into that spot might not have been the greatest idea. Also, if they signed him as a starter, why was he making appearances out of the bullpen? Marcum was originally a reliever, but he hadn’t played the position since 2007, so it would be smart to keep him on regular rest to not blow his arm out of the pen.
Sign #3 – Pressure
Marcum’s postseason numbers are horrendous. In threee games started, he has an ERA of 14.90 and has given up 3 HR in 9.2 IP. His hits allowed almost double his innings and his record sits at 0-3. Clearly, Marcum wouldn’t pitch in the postseason in 2013, so what’s the big deal? Pressure. Pitching in New York is one of the toughest things to do, and Marcum has never done it well in his career. He sports an ERA over 4.5 at Citi Field. His 6.27 ERA in the Bronx doesn’t stand out. So the stats tell the story, Marcum does not have his best games in New York, and he proved that this season.
Unfortunately, Marcum’s season ended prematurely, and with the way things look, he may not see big league action again for a while, if ever. He did have bright spots this year, such as his only win at U.S. Cellular Field where he allowed four hits and no runs over eight innings. Or against the Braves at home, where he struck out 12 and walked nobody, but took home the no-decision. It will be interesting to see if Marcum’s career is finished or if another desperate team takes a chance on him like the Mets did this season.