The scouts may be right, and 20-year-old infield prospect Brett Lawrie may indeed turn out to be the next Jeff Kent. But the Brewers need pitching today, and that’s why they pulled the trigger on their first trade of these Winter Meetings.
The Brewers and Blue Jays on Monday announced the swap they set in place Sunday night, sending Toronto’s 2010 Opening Day starter Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee for Lawrie, a talented hitter who was widely considered the Brewers’ top prospect.
The deal was met with some surprise in the lobby of the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin resort by a handful of rival executives who didn’t know Lawrie was available. The Langley, British Columbia native is coming off a solid season at Double-A Huntsville in which he batted .285 with eight home runs, 63 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. Sixty of Lawrie’s 158 hits went for extra-bases including 16 triples.
In Marcum, the Brewers have a right-hander who, barring future deals, figures to join right-hander Yovani Gallardo and left-hander Randy Wolf in the top three slots of Milwaukee’s starting rotation. Marcum is arbitration-eligible again after earning $850,000 in 2010, and won’t reach free agency for two more seasons.
“Shaun is an excellent strike-thrower and one of the better competitors we saw pitch last season,” Brewers GM Doug Melvin said in a statement. “He has the ability to pitch at the top of the rotation along with Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf. He fills a hole in our staff that we needed to fill.”
— Adam McCalvy