Right-hander Shaun Marcum agreed late Wednesday to a $3.95 million contract for 2011, avoiding arbitration and ensuring that the first opponent of his Brewers tenure will be somebody other than the Brewers themselves.
Marcum and the Brewers faced an arbitration hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon, and by Wednesday representatives from both sides had arrived in Phoenix to make final preparations. Marcum’s agent, Rex Gary, and Brewers senior director of business operations Teddy Werner met in a hotel lobby during the afternoon, then engaged in another, more intense round of negotiations in the evening and struck a deal.
They settled just below the midpoint of proposals submitted last month, when Marcum and Gary filed for $5 million and the Brewers offered $3 million. Marcum can earn incentives for innings and awards to push his salary past the $4 million midpoint. Those incentives were the final sticking point in talks.
In that way, Marcum’s deal is similar to the $1.25 million pact between the Brewers and reliever Kameron Loe, who settled just below the midpoint of his figures but can push over by earning $115,000 in available incentives.
“The goal is always to avoid going to a hearing and coming to an agreement that both sides feel comfortable with,” Werner said. “Sometimes you just have to wait it out.”
Talks with Marcum moved forward Wednesday after one of his “comps,” Angels right-hander Jered Weaver, went all the way to a hearing with the Angels. Marcum and Weaver both have four-plus years of Major League service, as does Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano, who settled with Minnesota on Saturday for $4.3 million, right at the midpoint of their figures.
“When Liriano’s deal got done, that brought a little more clarity, and then I think we were just waiting to see how Weaver’s deal played out,” Werner said. “When they went into a hearing room, there weren’t any comparables left.”
The decision on Weaver’s case won’t be revealed until Thursday, likely after the Brewers would have gone into a hearing with Marcum.