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Numbers Game: Jays Deal Marcum for Lawrie

Scott Cullen
12/7/2010 2:51:08 PM
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The Toronto Blue Jays traded their 2010 Opening Day starter in order to pry a top position prospect from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Numbers Game looks at the Shaun Marcum deal.

The Brewers Get: RHP Shaun Marcum.

Marcum, who will be 29 in a week, enjoyed a fine comeback season for the Blue Jays in 2010, winning a career-high 13 games while posting a respectable 3.64 ERA and career-best 1.15 WHIP; all after missing the entire 2009 season as he recovered from elbow surgery.

Despite not having much velocity -- his 87.1 MPH average on his fastball ranked in the bottom ten of the major leagues -- Marcum struck out a career-best 165 batters in 195 1/3 innings in 2010.

Even if he's not overpowering, Marcum has the repertoire of a pitcher, throwing five different pitches (fastball, curveball, slider, change and cutter) and having good command of them.  He walked a career-low 1.98 batters per nine innings last season.

Going to Milwaukee, Marcum will bolster a sorry Brewers starting rotation, providing support for emerging ace Yovani Gallardo and veteran Randy Wolf in the top three.

In his four-year career, Marcum is 6-1 in 11 games against National League opponents, posting 3.34 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. 

Pitching against NL Central opponents, as opposed to the often powerhouse opposition of the American League East, figures to help Marcum's numbers improve.

After earning $850,000 in 2010, Marcum is eligible for arbitration this winter, so he'll be due a sizeable raise, but the Brewers ought to be happy to pay it; they aren't going anywhere without an upgrade to their pitching staff and Marcum should be able to provide a solid 200 innings for them.

The Blue Jays Get: 2B Brett Lawrie.

20-year-old Lawrie is a quality prospect who had eight homers, 63 RBI and a .285 batting average at Double-A Huntsville. In two minor league seasons, he has a .343 on-base percentage and .445 slugging percentage.

After hitting 36 doubles last season, there is an indication that his power could develop into home run power as he matures.

Lawrie also runs well, stealing 30 bases and leading the Southern League with 16 triples.

While Lawrie may not be major-league ready right out of spring training, it may not take long for him to challenge for a spot on the Blue Jays' roster.

The question is, where does he play? With Aaron Hill at second base, Lawrie may need to shift to third base or the outfield if he's going to crack the everyday lineup.

There have been questions about Lawrie's makeup, but as a 20-year-old, he has time to mature and get on the right track. That he happens to be Canadian (from Langley, BC) doesn't hurt a Blue Jays team that could always use some homegrown talent.

It's not easy to give up a proven major league pitcher for a prospect, but the Blue Jays are obviously very high on Lawrie's tools. 

The deal could leave the Blue Jays light in the starting rotation, but there is more time in the offseason to address any holes left in the rotation, whether through trades, free agency or simply the promotion of prospect Kyle Drabek.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.



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