Cleveland Indians fans always love to see who the Non-Roster Invites are to camp. Often the list is filled with prospects who are close, but not on the 40-man roster. There are of course players who may be looking to grab on and find themselves a roster spot, maybe even ‘end of the line’ guys. Shaun Marcum is one of those guys.
A quick glance at his stats from his last season in the Majors and you think, ‘No way’. A 1-10 record, a 5.29 ERA in 14 games. Clearly he’s done. Right? But you have to go deeper than the numbers.
Marcum signed last season as a NRI, and specifically chose the Indians due to the reputation of their medical staff. He’s eager for a comeback opportunity, especially after last year’s fell short. after right-shoulder surgery in July 2013, complications led him to see only minimal action at the Indians minor-league level last season.
The procedure was to help alleviate symptoms from thoracic outlet syndrome, which contributed to his injury-riddled campaign with the New York Mets in ’13. He saw very little action last season – mostly at low-levels – appearing in only nine game, but posting a 2.08 ERA in 17 1/3 innings.
His last full season was in 2011, when he went 13-7 with a 3.54 ERA, while tossing 200 2/3 inning with the Brewers. He missed the entire 2009 season as well because of Tommy John surgery. But from 2007-12, he posted a 54-32 record with a 3.67 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 2.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 830 1/3 innings between stints with the Blue Jays and Brewers.
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When Marcum is healthy, he’s effective. And while his name hasn’t been mentioned much for that final rotation spot, if he can pitch to the level he had prior to surgery, he could be a surprise at Indians camp. Before the debacle of 2013 with the Mets, his only losing record came in his rookie season when he finished 3-4. Taking away that 1-10 season, he’s 21 games over .500 as a pitcher. That’s a quality guy to have, even if he breaks camp simply as added depth.
Opinion around baseball is the indians have one of the best, albeit young rotations in baseball. With guys like Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, it’s very promising. Carlos Carrasco had an amazing second half, and the Tribe are hoping for the same from him, as well as the rest of the staff that held the second lowest ERA (2.95) in the Majors after the break.
But should any of the young arms digress, having a veteran like Marcum in your back pocket will only help to build confidence in a pitching staff that looks to dethrone the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.