Apparently the Brewers aren't waiting long to get busy during Winter Meetings Week -- Tom Haudricourt is reporting that Doug Melvin is putting the finishing touches on a trade that will bring Toronto starter Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee. The Brewers will apparently send prospects in return, although no names have been mentioned yet.
Without knowing who the Brewers are sending away, it's easy to like Marcum's numbers. In the tough AL East, he put up an ERA of 3.64 in 195.1 innings (and with an ERA+ of 3.74 and xFIP of 3.90, it's not like he was getting incredibly lucky). Dave Cameron notes that last season, Marcum actually had a higher K/9 and lower BB/9 than Zack Greinke. That'll get people excited.
Stuff-wise, Marcum isn't going to chuck fastballs at 95 MPH, but he's like Yovani Gallardo in that he has an excellent feel for his off-speed stuff. According to FanGraphs, his slider came in at 3.6 runs above average, while his changeup was an incredible 26.0 runs above average. That's some Trevor-Hoffman-In-His-Prime stuff.
The only concern is that Marcum does have a bit of an injury history, missing 2009 due to Tommy John surgery. Otherwise, it looks like the Brewers managed to nab a perfect complement to Yovani Gallardo.
I'll update this as news keeps coming in.
8:40 P.M.: Another positive of getting Marcum? It lessens the importance of getting pitching in any deal for Prince Fielder. Trading for Marcum may signal the Brewers trying to make one last push with Fielder in 2011, but since he'll be under team control for at least a couple more seasons, if Melvin still wanted to trade Fielder, he could focus on getting the best overall package in return -- not just one that would fill an immediate need.
8:46 P.M.: Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi says he's hearing that Brett Lawrie is in the deal. If true, it definitely takes some of the sweetness out of this deal. You have to give up something good to get a guy who's managed to put up ERAs under 4 in the AL East, though.
10:13 P.M.: Haudricourt confirms that Lawrie is in the deal. Jim Callis of Baseball America says that while he likes Lawrie's bat, he doesn't think he can play 2B, and that makes this an even trade. I'm not going to like losing Lawrie, but Marcum is the kind of pitcher that could make a very good #2 in the National League.