Brewers History

Milwaukee Brewers: Looking back at the Shaun Marcum / Brett Lawrie Deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 25: Shaun Marcum
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 25: Shaun Marcum /
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The Milwaukee Brewers once made a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for starting pitcher Shaun Marcum. Let’s revisit this deal and see how things turned out for both sides.

It was exactly seven years ago on December 6, 2010 when the Brewers acquired Shaun Marcum in exchange for 2008 first round pick Brett Lawrie. Marcum pitched in the Milwakee Brewers rotation for the next two seasons while Lawrie was a mainstay in the Blue Jays lineup for four seasons.

How did Marcum do?

Marcum pitched quite well during the regular season in a Milwaukee Brewers uniform. In 2011, he posted a 3.54 ERA in just over 200 innings. His 13 wins that year matched a career high. In 2012, Marcum again put up quality numbers, but over fewer innings. He missed two months with an injury. In that disappointing 2012 campaign, Marcum’s injury prevented the Crew from trading him at the same trade deadline that saw Zack Greinke leave town.

While Marcum was productive during the regular season, his performance in the postseason in 2011 was downright awful. In Game Three of the NLDS against Arizona, Marcum allowed seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. The Milwaukee Brewers lost that game 8-1. The Crew was able to win that series thanks to Nyjer Morgan and his alter-ego T-Plush.

In the NLCS against the Cardinals, Marcum started Game Two. He allowed five runs in only four innings of work en route to a 12-3 loss. Marcum gave up a two-run shot to Albert Pujols in the first inning. This loss allowed the Cardinals to tie the series at one apiece.

In an even more pitiful performance in Game Six, Marcum lasted only one inning, giving up four runs with three of them coming on a moonshot by David Freese. The Cardinals also scored 12 runs in this game, winning by a score of 12-6. By winning this game, the Cardinals won the NLCS 4-2 and went on to the World Series. Marcum finished the 2011 postseason with an 0-3 record and a 14.90 ERA.

Before we all get any more frustrated remembering the Shaun Marcum era, let’s take a look at how Brett Lawrie turned out for Toronto.

How did Brett Lawrie do?

Lawrie made his Major League debut late in the 2011 season. Playing mostly third base, Lawrie was a productive player over four seasons north of the border. In just over 1300 at bats, Lawrie hit .264 with 43 homers. He wasn’t really anything special. He has only qualified for the batting title once in his career, and that was after he was traded to Oakland.

Speaking of that, the Toronto Blue Jays were somehow able to trade Lawrie and a few prospects for Josh Donaldson. Donaldson won the MVP his first season in Toronto and is the sole reason the Jays believe they can still contend next season.

Lawrie spent only one year in Oakland and hit .260 with a career high 16 homers. He spent 2016 with the Chicago White Sox. He played his last professional game on July 21, 2016 after getting released.

Lawrie did not play in 2017 and is rehabbing lower body injuries. While Lawrie may not have lived up to the hype of being a first round pick, he has been a useful player for teams for six seasons. He still has his youth on his side. He is only 27 years old. For most players, that means they are just entering their prime.

So who won the trade?

The Toronto Blue Jays are the clear winners in this trade. Not necessarily for the long term production that Lawrie provided, but because they turned Lawrie into Josh Donaldson. By extension, the Blue Jays turned Shaun Marcum into Josh Donaldson, if you look at it that way. That’s a win by any measure.

Marcum was a productive starter during the season and a half he was healthy. However, he really stunk it up in the postseason and cost the Brewers their best chance to win their first World Series title. If Marcum was average in the postseason and just had one decent start, we could call this trade a wash. But his performance was so terrible that it cannot be forgiven. Then-GM Doug Melvin and the Milwaukee Brewers lost this trade.

Next: Who won the Mike Fiers & Carlos Gomez Deal?

The off season of 2010-11 was quite active for the Brewers and helped put the finishing touches on that 2011 roster that won 96 games. Marcum looked like one of those big pieces during the regular season but he simply didn’t show up in October.

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