We all know that if the Royals are going to sign another starting pitcher, in all likelihood it is going to be a possible reclamation project. It would be someone they could get for a season, possibly with a team option, and be able to move on from should the experiment not work out. This strategy paid off well last season with the trade for Ervin Santana, who filled the role as the Royals second starter admirably.
Yet, unless the Royals find another $100 Million laying around someplace that is not earmarked for David Glass’s private bank account, Santana is not likely to be walking back through the door. So, if the Royals do not feel that their internal options in Danny Duffy and/or Yordano Ventura are ready to seize that role, they may need to take on another project. The Royals had already been linked to other players that would fit that designation in Josh Johnson and Tim Hudson before they signed elsewhere, and remain in the conversation for possible landing spots for Phil Hughes. However, aside from Hughes, there is another potential reclamation project out there that could attract attention from the Royals in Shaun Marcum.
Based off the reactions to Marcum in the comments of previous posts, it would appear as though he is only slightly above the concept of dragging Mark Redman out of retirement in the hierarchy of potential pieces for the rotation. Looking at the absolute disaster that was his 2013 season, it is easy to see why. Marcum was 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA, fighting through injuries that held him to only 14 appearances in the year. However, was Marcum’s season truly that bad?
There were definitely troubling signs for Shaun Marcum, as he got hit around in his outings, giving up a hit per inning for the first time since 2006. Marcum also had the lowest strikeout rate of his career, with just under seven strikeouts per nine innings. However, he had his lowest walk rate since 2010, and most of his peripheral statistics were in line with his career norms. Where Marcum was truly victimized was with the batted ball, as he had a .331 batting average on balls in play against, far above the major league average of .298, and his career mark of .277.
That rough 2013 could partially be due to his injuries, but it may also have a lot to do with the Mets defense. Although they ranked around the middle of the pack in most defensive categories, the Mets were unable to turn double plays and had trouble getting to the ball. With a much better defense behind him in Kansas City, it is conceivable that Marcum could have a bounce back year.
Shaun Marcum may not be the option that most people would want to see in the Royals rotation, but he may end up providing a decent return on investment. At the very least, he likely would not be nearly as bad as he was last season.