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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, April 19, 2014

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Lawrie made his big league debut about a month ago, and has quickly made an impact for the Blue Jays.
Lawrie made his big league debut about a month ago, and has quickly made an impact for the Blue Jays. (Photo: thestar.com)

Marcum for Lawrie: a win-win trade

Whenever a trade is made, there's always a lot of time spent trying to figure out who "won" the deal. Rare are the ones where everyone can agree that both teams win. The Shaun Marcum-Brett Lawrie trade may end up being one of those deals.

In many ways, Marcum has surpassed expectations in his first season with the Brewers. After throwing seven innings of one-hit baseball against the Astros on Sunday, Marcum improved to 12-5 with a 3.11 ERA. Compared to last season with Toronto, Marcum has allowed less home runs per 9 innings pitched (1.11 HR/9 to 0.87), stranding more base runners (74.3% LOB to 75.5%), and is inducing more weak contact. A pitcher moving from the American League to the National League can expect to see some statistical improvement, but the NL hasn't been able to square up on Marcum all year.

Lawrie made his big league debut about a month ago, and has quickly made an impact for the Blue Jays. In just 29 games since his call-up, Lawrie has put up a .317/.372/.663 AVG/OBP/SLG line. Of the 33 hits he collected through Sunday, 18 have been for extra bases: seven doubles, four triples, and seven home runs. In case you didn't know, the kid can hit.

The knock on Lawrie has been his defense, but he's been solid at third base during his first month in the majors. The combination of good defense and a hot start at the plate has Lawrie at 1.9 Wins Above Replacement through his first 29 games, which is an absurd number for anyone, let alone a 21-year-old rookie. Your average big league starter will post a WAR above 2 for an entire season. Lawrie is there after a month.

For the sake of comparison, Casey McGehee's WAR for the year is 0.8, mostly thanks to his own solid defense at third.

While having Lawrie's bat would be nice right now -- especially during this recent stretch where the offense has struggled to put anything together against non-Houston teams -- there's no denying that the Brewers have built their large division lead thanks to their pitching. While the entire rotation has been good for much of the year, you could build a solid argument for Marcum being the most consistent of the bunch.

Even though we're a few weeks away from the end of the season, it appears both teams got what they wanted from the deal. Toronto got an exciting young bat to keep fans excited as they continue to build for the future. The Brewers got a pitcher who would be the best pitcher on many NL staffs, but has excelled in a role as the team's #3 on a stacked staff.

The Blue Jays' future looks bright, and the Brewers look to be headed back to the postseason.

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