Free agent starter Shaun Marcum has agreed to a minor league deal with the Cleveland Indians, reports FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi on Monday afternoon.
The Marcum signing comes on the heels of the Tribe signing another former Milwaukee Brewer in closer John Axford on Sunday.
Marcum, who turned 32 on Saturday, has been injury-prone throughout his career. He has made only 36 starts over the past two seasons. In 2013, he was dreadful for the New York Mets, finishing 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA after signing a $4 million contract.
When actually pitching, he had been fairly effective previously throughout his career. From 2008 through 2012 (he missed all of 2009 because of Tommy John surgery), he posted a 3.57 ERA. His 7.4 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 ratios were quite solid, and have remained steady.
The signing appears to be a great buy-low idea for the Indians. They’ve had a relatively quiet offseason, only spending significant money on Axford and outfielder David Murphy, but minor league deals can be zero-risk lottery tickets. Cleveland learned that this past year with Scott Kazmir, who recently signed a two-year $22 million deal with Oakland.
Notably, the Indians need to replace 61 starts from Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez, who also is expected to leave in free agency. GM Chris Antonetti is banking on health and bounceback seasons from Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Josh Tomlin to fill the No. 5 starter gap. A flier on a guy like Marcum just is another potential option for that role.
[Related: John Axford – A Calculated Risk]