Trading Lawrie

This story hit Twitter and the internet around 9:30 last night and there are plenty of reactions this morning.

This story:

After arriving a day early in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for baseball’s
winter meetings, Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin wasted no
time addressing his team’s need for starting pitching.

Melvin worked out a trade with Toronto for right-hander Shaun Marcum
on Sunday night, not waiting for the official start of the meetings
Monday. Marcum, who turns 29 on Dec. 14, was 13-8 with a 3.64 earned run
average in 31 starts for the Blue Jays in 2010.

Because physical examinations are required to complete major-league trades, Melvin could not confirm the deal.

“I can’t say anything about it, really,” said Melvin when contacted via telephone. “It’s not completed yet.”

Marcum came
at a steep price. A source in Canada confirmed that the Brewers’ top
minor-league prospect, second baseman Brett Lawrie, was sent to Toronto
in exchange for the pitcher.

It was not known if the Brewers were sending any other players to Toronto.

Lawrie, who
will be 21 in January, was the Brewers’ first-round draft pick in 2008.
He is from British Columbia and it was no secret that the Blue Jays were
interested for some time in acquiring the Canadian native.

I saw a post that mentioned Nick Bucci (’10) was heading to Toronto, too.  But, an update at the top of the post at that link mentions that Bucci is not included and that it will just be Lawrie for Marcum.

A few reactions.  First, here is Drew Olson of ESPN540 in Milwaukee with a reaction that was up about an hour after the story broke.

Marcum, who missed the 2009 season while recovering from reconstructive
elbow surgery, took Roy Halladay’s spot at the top of the Blue Jays’
rotation and pitched well in 31 games. To check out Marcum’s big-league
stats, click here.

In 195 1/3 innings, he allowed 181 hits and 43 walks. He recorded 165
strikeouts and limited opponents to a .242 batting average. More
important, he recorded 22 quality starts in 31 outings.

Many pitchers who move from the American League to the National League
experience a drop in their earned run average. The Brewers are
undoubtedly banking on that with Marcum, a Kansas City native who made
$850,000 last year and will be eligible for free agency after 2012.

With Marcum in the mix behind Yovani Gallardo and lefty Randy Wolf, the
Brewers appear to have solidified the top of their rotation. But, there
is work to be done and Melvin and his staff will be working this week at
the Winter Meetings, which open Monday, to get more pitching depth.

Okay.  What about Jim over at Bernie’s Crew?

twitter exploded last night with various reactions to the trade.  They
ranged from being giddy over acquiring an above-average pitcher to
being enraged over trading the prospect that Baseball America ranked the best in the system last season.

This trade was very difficult for me to wrap my head around.  I found
myself being tugged from “in favor” of the trade to “highly skeptical”
of the trade almost minute to minute.  The gut feeling one normally gets
when learning of a trade was strangely absent, and I detemined that I
was firmly straddling the fence on this Marcum/Lawrie trade.

But why?

Neither player come to their new team without significant question
marks.  Risk is present when analyzing the deal from either side of the
equation, which makes the “winner” of this trade extremely difficult to
pinpoint — not that a winner can truly be determined until years later.

Click through for all of it, but…Here are the top good and bad possibilities for the Brewers according to Jim:

Shaun Marcum threw 195.1 innings last season and compiled a 3.64 ERA
with a 3.74 FIP, which suggests his ERA is sustainable based upon his
pitching performance.  The Brewers need that type of production in their

Shaun Marcum underwent Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2009 to
rehab the elbow.  He is a legitimate injury risk, and his delivery still
puts a high amount of stress on his elbow.  Glance at a few pictures,
and you will quickly see the dreaded “inverted W” that likely put him on
the DL in the first place.

There is much more.

Tom Haudricourt has a blog post titled Prospects can be currency.

For the second time in 2 1/2 years, the Brewers have traded their No. 1 minor-league prospect for badly needed pitching help.

In July 2008, the Brewers traded outfielder/first baseman Matt
LaPorta, their first-round draft pick in ’07, to Cleveland in a deal for
left-hander CC Sabathia. The deal worked exactly as the Brewers hoped,
with Sabathia leading them to their first playoff berth in 26 years.

On Sunday night, the Brewers traded second baseman Brett Lawrie,
their first-round draft pick in 2008, to Toronto for right-hander
Shaun Marcum. Soon to be 29, Marcum probably will plug into the Brewers’
rotation in the third spot behind Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf.

I know many folks think the Brewers gave up too much by trading
Lawrie for Marcum. But I think we can all agree that the team is going
nowhere in 2011 without upgrading its starting rotation after two dismal
seasons on that front.

Lawrie undeniably is an offensive talent, having done quite well at
age 20 in the Class AA Southern League in 2010. But he is still a
developing second baseman and needs considerable work defensively before
being big-league ready.

And the Brewers may not be done trading prospects.  Here is this from MLB Fanhouse.

Even after acquiring Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays for their top prospect, the Brewers are still looking for starting pitching, and their top trade chip appears to be outfielder Lorenzo Cain.

A major league source said Milwaukee is interested in moving the
24-year-old Cain to help its rotation, which last season had a 4.65 ERA,
second-worst in the National League.

Cain may be moved for a major league starter.  We’ll see where this goes.

For a very complete roundup of the links with reaction to the Lawrie for Marcum trade head over to Brew Crew Ball for Monday’s Frosty Mug.

1 Comment

I am very disappointed with this trade. A 29 year old, Tommy John surgery pitcher for the 26th ranked minor league prospect, Lawrie.
All because the Brewers need pitching. Who’s fault is that? Doug Melvin.
I will stay with the Timber Rattlers, but you have lost a Brewers fan with this one, Doug

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