The Mets signed Shaun Marcum to a one-year, $4 million deal with a potential $4 million in incentives during the offseason to fill out their starting rotation. Marcum missed most of spring training with a variety of injuries and didn't make a start with the team until April 27.
He went on to struggle mightily in his four appearances of the year, one of which came in relief, posting an 8.59 ERA 14.2 innings. Since then, he's at least been a bit better. In seven starts and one eight-inning relief appearance, Marcum has a 4.14 ERA over the course of 58.2 innings. On the season, he has a 5.03 ERA, 73 ERA+, and 3.54 FIP.
His overall numbers aren't as good as they were over the past three seasons, during which he put together a 3.62 ERA and 111 ERA+. And Marcum's batting average on balls in play was consistently under .300 in each of those three seasons, but this year it sits at .309. There's probably a reason for the rise in his ERA and BABIP: Marcum's average fastball has been clocked at 85.1 mph, a significant drop from last year's average of 86.3 mph.
In short, Marcum might not be as appealing to other teams as the Mets would like him to be.
If the Mets were to trade Marcum, they'd have to slot someone into the big league rotation to take his spot, but that's not exactly a problem given the team's record. If a contending team came calling for Marcum, it's hard to imagine Sandy Alderson turning down just about any significant offer.
The Trade Market
Luckily for the Mets, there's no shortage of contending teams with poor starting rotations. The Blue Jays, Orioles, Padres, Giants, Indians, Rockies, Angels, Rays, and Diamondbacks are all at least in the hunt for a wild card spot, if not a division title, with below-average starting rotations. If Marcum puts together a good couple of weeks, perhaps one of those teams would be interested in trading for him.
If the Mets are willing to pay all of Marcum's salary this year, it wouldn't be a total surprise to see them pick up a player who could be a part of the 2014 roster. If one of the organizations above were to offer a decent prospect—think someone rated a B- or C prospect—at a position of need, the Mets would likely be more than willing to send Marcum packing in a trade. Given his performance this year, however, he may very well end up finishing the season with the Mets.