The Blue Jays traded their opening day starter for a blue chip prospect and the Brewers got the pitching help they desperately needed. While losing Shaun Marcum to the Brewers, the Blue Jays seemed to weaken themselves, but as we shall see, it's not going to be as big a loss for the Blue Jays as it seems. Meanwhile, pitchers going to the National League from the tough American League East seem to thrive. There is nothing but upside for the Brewers.
By all accounts, Marcum had a terrific 2010 season and all his peripherals were great for his comeback season after losing time to Tommy John surgery. All the numbers are terrific starting with his 1.247 WHIP and 3.84 strikeout to walk ratio. Marcum throws strikes and he will pay occasionally with a somewhat high homer rate. But he's easily better than anything the Brewers had behind Yovanni Gallardo. But why would the Blue Jays give him up?
Essentially, the Blue Jays traded from depth as they have a wealth of good young pitching talent. Plus, Marcum did not help the team in the AL East. Yes, Marcum was 3-0 against the Orioles, but against the Yankees, Red Sox and Bay Rays, he was a combined 1-5. His ERA against Boston was 5.55 with seven homers allowed in five starts. He only started one game against the Yankees but he lost it and had a 7.50 ERA in that game. Against the Bay Rays, he had an ERA of 5.55 in four starts and lost both of his decisions. It's all well and good to have a solid pitcher like Marcum, but you have to be able to beat your division rivals too.
The Brewers have to like that Marcum was 3-0 in four interleague starts. He beat the Padres, the Diamondbacks and the Phillies and had a strong start against the Giants in a no decision. He averaged more than nine strikeouts per nine innings in his outings against NL opponents.
The Blue Jays get a terrific prospect in Brett Lawrie, considered the Brewers second best prospect. Lawrie is only 20 years old and he's a bit without a position. He started as a catcher but has been playing second in the minors. Most project him as a corner outfielder. But the Jays have to love that Lawrie is Canadian and can hit the stuffing out of the ball. He has great doubles and triples power and could develop homer potential as he gets older. He's shown fair patience at the plate but strikes out a bit too much. Lawrie could be a star for the Blue Jays in a year or two and give them a home town favorite. If Aaron Hill doesn't bounce back, he could play second for the Blue Jays.
This is a great deal for the Brewers. Marcum is only 29 and has a brand new elbow that should be able to give them reliable starts from the start of the season on. The Blue Jays give up starting depth they can replace and get a great prospect. There is little downside to find in this deal for either team.