Chris Antonetti was recently quoted saying that the Tribe is most likely done with their major moves this offseason. Antonetti definitely deserves a round of applause for the moves he has made thus far. He has addressed many of the team’s areas of need and has gotten the fan base excited again for 2013. That being said, if there is any possible way he can manage to sign Shaun Marcum, I think he needs to do it. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of the acquisition of Brett Myers. Myers is a widely known as a fierce competitor who can eat up a lot of innings and can provide a solid veteran presence in the clubhouse and in the pitching rotation. However, the rotation still has a lot of question marks and Marcum could help to answer some of them.
Why Marcum? First of all, he should come at a somewhat reasonable price in comparison to some of the other pitchers on the market. The top pitcher left on the market is Kyle Lohse, who is coming off a career season with the Cardinals. However, other than this past season, Lohse has had a pretty mediocre and inconsistent career. Here are Lohse’s ERAs over his past 4 seasons: 4.74, 6.55, 3.39, 2.86. Let’s compare that to what Marcum has done: 3.39, 3.64, 3.54, 3.70. Marcum has clearly been more consistent in recent years. Marcum has a career ERA of 3.76 and Lohse has a career ERA of 4.45. Plus Marcum is 3 years younger than Lohse. I’m not saying the Lohse won’t be good for the next couple of seasons, but he is not worth the marginal cost a team would pay in comparison to Marcum.
Now let’s take a closer look at Marcum’s statistics. First of all Marcum has a career BB/9 of 2.77, and has never had a BB/9 over 3.00 since becoming a full time starter. Anyone that followed the Tribe last year knows that command issues were a large part of the starting rotation’s struggles last year. To put this in perspective, Justin Masterson had a BB/9 of 3.84 last season and Ubaldo Jimenez had a BB/9 of 4.84. I also would like to point out that Marcum pitched his home games at hitter-friendly Miller Park for the past 2 seasons. Let’s take a look at his home/road splits over the past two seasons:
2012 Home: 4.44 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .267 BAA
2012 Road: 3.26 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, .231 BAA
2011 Home: 4.81 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .259 BAA
2011 Road: 2.21 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, .202 BAA
There is a clear difference in performance here. Miller Park actually led the National League with an average of 2.83 HR/game in 2012, while Progressive Field was tied for the third lowest in the American League with an average of 1.84 HR/game. I think it’s pretty clear that Marcum and the Indians would both benefit greatly from him pitching his home games at Progressive Field in 2013. Given the acquisitions we’ve already made, I realize this is probably wishful thinking. However, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the Tribe’s front office thinks of it.