MLB Trade Rumors 2012: Are Milwaukee Brewers Dangling Shaun Marcum?

Alec DoppCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2011

MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 16:  Shaun Marcum #18 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 16, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matt Slocum-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

When the Milwaukee Brewers dealt top prospect Brett Lawrie in return for former Toronto Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum last offseason, they envisioned a steadfast starter that would eventually become an anchor in their starting rotation.

For the most part, they were able to get a considerable return on investment.  The 29-year-old Marcum went 13-7 with a 3.54 ERA and a .232 BAA, including an MLB-best 2.21 ERA on the road over the course of his sumptuous 2011 regular season.

However, the month of September proved to be a bit disappointing.  In five total starts in the regular season's regular month, the righty went 2-2 with a 5.17 ERA, and actually allowed opposing hitters to bat an appalling .273 in 31.1 total innings of work.

In turn, his late season struggles would proceed into Milwaukees' postseason competition, with much disgust to Brewers fans across the country.

In just three postseason starts—totaling a whopping 9.2 innings collectively—Marcum posted a disheartening 14.90 ERA, allowing more earned runs (16) than innings pitched, leading to a Milwaukees loss in each game Marcum appeared in the playoffs.

After such a widely successful 2011 campaign, amassing countless accolades on his way to becoming Ron Roenicke's primary go-to starter on the road, could the Brewers actually contemplate trading away Marcum?  At this stage, it seems like such a fabrication that most Brewers fans would simply toss the issue aside completely, but a trade may be on the horizon.

Many teams would be interested in Marcum's services for 2012 and the foreseeable future.  The Cubs, Rays, Orioles and, yes, even the Yankees could all be vying for his services in the near future, seeing as how he's set to become an unrestricted free agent after next season.

Surely, the Brewers will neither be interested nor be able to pay the going-rate for Marcum next offseason, so why not get their own return on investment by trading Marcum this offseason?

Rumors are sure to surface this offseason, folks.  Only time will tell.

Alec Dopp covers the Milwaukee Brewers as a Featured Columnist on Bleacher Report.  Follow him on Twitter, @alecdopp, and read his Brewers blog.