Brewers manager Ron Roenicke admitted today that Shaun Marcum is running out of time to recover from his shoulder inflammation by Opening Day, telling Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that “the days are getting short.”
Marcum threw a bullpen session today and reported no problems, so he’ll move on to throwing live batting practice Sunday.
Roenicke pointed to Marco Estrada as the likely fill-in if the Brewers need a replacement starter for the first turn through the rotation, although it’s possible they may go with Marcum on a shortened pitch count if the shoulder problems are no longer an issue.
Any disabled list stint can be backdated, so Marcum wouldn’t necessarily have to miss more than one start even if he doesn’t start the season on the active roster. However, he’s had plenty of previous arm problems and faded badly down the stretch last year, so Marcum’s status is definitely a big worry.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.