Shaun Marcum is a very good American League pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays who reportedly was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday night. There were no indications that the Blue Jays were looking to deal the right hander who has just over three years of major league service time and made just under $1 million last season.
Marcum emerged in 2008 going 9-7 with a 3.39 ERA in 25 starts before hurting his arm. He had Tommy John surgery and missed all of the 2009 season, but he bounced back with a 13-8 record and 3.64 ERA this past year. Marcum is turning 29 years old and seems to be an asset and centerpiece of Toronto’s pitching rotation, begging the question: why would they want to trade him?
The only answer that makes sense is that the Blue Jays are preparing to make a deal for Zack Greinke. Greinke is sick of playing for the non-competitive Kansas City Royals and wants out. Though he has a no-trade clause, he reportedly is willing to accept a trade to any team. Rotoworld has been all over the Greinke trade rumors and pointed out that the Blue Jays have been making a push for the Cy Young winner.
It’s quite likely that trading Marcum for minor league prospects is a precursor to a Zack Greinke trade. Whether the Blue Jays intend on flipping some of the players to KC or keeping them to re-stock their system we don’t know, but one of the two must be the case. Why else would they trade a valuable player like Shawn Marcum?
UPDATE: The Brewers likely gave up second baseman prospect Brett Lawrie in the trade.