On Monday night, the Indians signed free agent RHP Shaun Marcum to a minor league contract with a non-roster invite to major league Spring Training camp. Marcum kind of joins three clubs at once: the Indians ballclub, the Indians-Pitchers-Who’ve-Had-Tommy-John-Surgery Club (other members include Josh Tomlin and Carlos Carrasco), and the Mickey-Callaway-Special-Projects Club (graduates include Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez, other 2014 club members include Vinnie Pestano and Trevor Bauer).
Marcum turned 32 on December 14 and has compiled a career major league record of 58-46 (.558) with a 3.88 ERA (995.0 IP, 925 H, .245 AVG), 303 BB and 806 SO in 188 games/161 starts for Toronto (2005-10), Milwaukee (2011-12), and the New York Mets (2013). He was selected by the Blue Jays in the third round of the 2003 June draft. The departing Jimenez and Kazmir pitched a combined 340.2 innings for the Tribe during 2013–that’s a lot of innings to replace. When he’s healthy, Marcum can give you a fair number of innings. He compiled more than 150 innings in four of five seasons from 2007-11, including a career-high 200.2 innings pitched in 2011 (and his 195.1 innings in 2010 are a close second. He missed the 2009 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Marcum had a one-year contract with the Mets for 2013, but began the season on the DL with a pinched nerve in his neck. He didn’t start his first game until April 27, with a loss to the Phillies. He was limited to 14 games/12 starts for the Mets in 2013 and ended up with a dismal 1-10 record and 5.29 ERA. His season ended on July 10 with surgery on his right shoulder to correct thoracic outlet syndrome.
If Marcum does not make the Opening Day roster, he can opt out of the contract. Masterson, Kluber, and McAllister are the definites for the starting rotation. Salazar is the most likely candidate for the #4 slot. If Marcum can beat out Josh Tomlin and Carlos Carrasco for the last spot in the rotation, great. If not, no harm done to either party. Welcome to the clubs, Shaun.