Report: Brewers to acquire Shaun Marcum from Jays

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Update: The Jays are expected to acquire 2008 first-round pick Brett Lawrie in return for Marcum. Lawrie, a 20-year-old second baseman, hit .285/.346/.449 as one of the youngest players in the Southern League last year. The Brewers’ No. 1 prospect, he’ll be a candidate to push Aaron Hill to third base in 2012, or he could shift to third base himself.

Perhaps looking to pick up some additional talent to use in a Zack Greinke trade, the Jays are close to sending right-hander Shaun Marcum to the Brewers, the Journal-Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt reports.

Marcum missed 2009 following Tommy John surgery, but he bounced back to go 13-8 with a 3.64 ERA in 31 starts last season. He’s 37-25 with a 3.85 ERA lifetime and he’s still two years away from free agency, so he’s an awfully valuable property. He’ll probably make just $4 million or so next year in arbitration.

No word on the return yet, but longtime prospect Mat Gamel is a logical choice to be included. The 25-year-old has been unable to establish himself in Milwaukee, but he has a very promising bat. The trouble has been finiding a position for him. He’s a subpar third baseman, though he would be an upgrade from Edwin Encarnacion with the glove. He’s also worked out at first base and in the outfield.

2009 first-round pick Eric Arnett, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and RHP Jeremy Jeffress are some other possibilities to be included.

If it gets done, it will be the second deal in a week between the two teams. The Jays recently picked up reliever Carlos Villanueva from the Brewers for a player to be named.

The Mets expect Tim Tebow to come back next year

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Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Newsday today that he expects minor league outfielder Tim Tebow to return for a third season in professional baseball.

Tebow, 31, broke the hamate bone in his right hand while swinging a bat in late July, ending his season. It was a fairly successful season for him all things considered. After being promoted to Double-A Binghamton to start the year he hit .273/.336/.399 with six home runs, a stolen base and a .734 OPS in 298 plate appearances and made the Double-A All-Star team. That’s not the stuff of a top prospect — he strikes out far too much and the power numbers aren’t fantastic given that power would figure to be his strongest tool — but it’s pretty respectable for a guy his age and with his relative lack of baseball experience. As I said back in July, you can believe the Mets’ interest in Tebow is more marketing than baseball, but that does not preclude you from giving the guy a deserved tip of the cap for working hard and sticking it out in the bush leagues.

Assuming he does come back, the Mets are likely to start him at Triple-A Syracuse in the hopes that he’d eventually get to the bigs as a late season callup if the Mets aren’t in contention. Indeed, many believed that was the plan for him this year had he not been injured.