Mets Agree to Sign Shaun Marcum

By Matt Musico

It’s finally happened; the Mets have agreed to sign a free agent to a Major League contract. Although the outfield still looks like a mess on paper and fans are unhappy to wake up and hear about Scott Hairston signing with the Cubs, the agreement to sign pitcher Shaun Marcum to a one-year deal will help soften the blow. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports was the first person to break this good news for Mets fans. This fills out the projected rotation for 2013 in Flushing, which will also include Johan Santana, Jonathon Niese, Matt Harvey, and Dillon Gee. So, for now, it looks like Zack Wheeler will be starting the year in Triple-A Las Vegas, as he should be.

New York’s search to fill the hole left by the R.A. Dickey trade has gone on for just over a month now, and I’m very happy to see that it’s over, pending a physical of course. Carl Pavano and Chris Younghad also been on Sandy’s radar, but we’ve been saying here at Rising Apple that Marcum provides the most upside out of any of them, and it’s great to see they were able to lure him in with the prospect of getting a guaranteed spot in the rotation.

Sep 21, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum (18) throws in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The 31-year-old right-hander joins Santana in book-ending a young rotation with some veteran leadership. He only threw 124 innings last year due to elbow tightness, but posted a 7-4 record, 3.70 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, struck out 109 hitters, and drew plenty of interest from teams this winter. After missing the 2009 season due to Tommy John surgery, he’s come back strong to throw 195.1 innings in 2010 and 200.2 innings in 2012. The biggest concern for Alderson and the Mets was not to replace the 20 wins and 2.73 ERA Dickey produced last year, but find someone efficient enough to eat up a good chunk of those innings and keep the team in games. Out of the three free agent hurlers New York was most linked to, Marcum looked to be the best option. Hopefully, having a healthy Gee and more healthy Santana combined with Marcum will make up the innings they’ve lost from our favorite knuckler.

The dollar figure for this one-year contract hasn’t been released yet, but it’s anticipated that it will be a low base salary and have certain performance and/or roster bonuses attached to it. This is a solid signing that truly solidifies the starting staff, and should help keep the bullpen from getting overworked. At least, let’s hope so.

Now that the rotation is finished, Alderson will be able to shift his full focus toward the outfield, as he’s said he’d still like to add someone else before the team reports to Port St. Lucie. Things may start to get real interesting.