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Circling Around On Shaun Marcum

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Is he this team's best free agent option after all?

Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

This is the spot where the Thursday Thinker usually goes, and this week's was going to be about Shaun Marcum. I was going to ask you to guess the Brewer starting pitchers who have thrown more innings than Marcum (324.2) with an ERA under his 3.60 mark for their careers.

Then I ran across a problem: It would've been a short quiz, because there isn't a single starting pitcher in Brewer franchise history that meets that criteria.

Now, ERA by itself probably isn't the single best tool to measure Marcum's value. Other factors that you have to keep in mind when discussing him include:

  • His consistent inability to pitch deep into games, which taxes the bullpen.
  • His well-under-90 mph fastball and reliance on pinpoint control, which suggests he may not age well.
  • The mystery ailment that cost him a big chunk of the 2012 season.

With that said, we've spent a lot of time over the last week or two discussing the possibility of a three year deal for Ryan Dempster, who struggled notably down the stretch in 2012 and would be 39 by the end of that contract. That has me wondering if Marcum isn't likely to be a better investment on a long term deal.

Of course, Dempster and Marcum aren't the only two pitchers left on the market. If it were my money I'd make an offer to Brandon McCarthy before either of them. But if it did come down to a choice between these two, I'd hope the Brewers would consider the younger and likely less expensive option.