Now that it appears the Liriano deal may be on hold the Pirates are rumored to be interested in Shaun Marcum.
What annoys me most is the logic behind these moves. Liriano was signed basically at the expense of Jeff Karstens. The reason Karstens wasn’t signed was because he was an injury risk. Well so is Liriano, in fact Liriano IS injured now.
This might be forgivable, though it’s stupid no doubt. Why isn’t it forgivable though? It’s not the first time the Pirates have been burned by not doing their due diligence in regards to injuries.
Flashback time. On November3, 2009 the Pittsburgh Pirates made a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for 2B Akinori Iwamura. Iwamura had played at the end of the season for Tampa Bay, but that was after coming off a pretty severe knee injury.
Iwamura was noticeably fatter, had almost no range at second base, and couldn’t hit a lick for the Pirates. Injuries were rumored to be a major reason for his failure.
On top of that the Pirates traded reliever Joel Hanrahan to clear up money for the deal. They did this before they had a physical and a signed contract.
Marcum comes with some injury risk too, but at least he isn’t currently injured. In addition to the fact that he appears to be healthy he also has a ton of talent and a resume that proves it. Unlike Liriano you aren’t throwing a dart, blindfolded, hoping for a bullseye. Marcum is a proven commodity.
|TOR (5 yrs)||37||25||3.85||120||95||592.0||549||264||253||86||184||479||113||1.238||8.3||1.3||2.8||7.3||2.60|
|MIL (2 yrs)||20||11||3.60||54||54||324.2||291||141||130||38||98||267||111||1.198||8.1||1.1||2.7||7.4||2.72|
|AL (5 yrs)||37||25||3.85||120||95||592.0||549||264||253||86||184||479||113||1.238||8.3||1.3||2.8||7.3||2.60|
|NL (2 yrs)||20||11||3.60||54||54||324.2||291||141||130||38||98||267||111||1.198||8.1||1.1||2.7||7.4||2.72|
He did struggle last year, both with injury and inconsistency but he still managed to post his fourth straight sub-4.00 ERA year. Unlike Liriano he is a soft tosser, with a fastball sitting around 87 MPH. Therefore he strikes out fewer batters. As you can see though his SO numbers are really not that bad. He walks almost half as many guys as Liriano which leads to a much better SO/BB ratio, which to me is more important than his gross SO or BB numbers.
Marcum would also benefit by moving from a top 10 hitter’s park to a bottom 10 hitter’s park in PNC. As you can see below, he had striking home/road splits.
Marcum would be a great buy low, risk/reward type that has a very good chance of working out. Unlike Liriano the Pirates won’t have to hope he knows how to pitch, he’s already proven it repeatedly.
Very rarely do you get to redo a signing. In spite of the Pirates incompetence in regards to Liriano, they have a great opportunity to fix the rotation in spite of their best efforts to do otherwise.