TORONTO -- Shaun Marcum will be aiming for a spot in the Blue Jays' rotation this spring and an arbitration hearing will not be interupting his schedule. On Monday, Toronto avoided arbitration with the pitcher, agreeing to a contract for the upcoming season.
In his first year of arbitration eligibility, Marcum settled with the Blue Jays on a contract worth $850,000 for the 2010 campaign. The right-hander will be in the mix for a starting role with Toronto this year after missing all of last season due to Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery on his pitching elbow.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Marcum's recovery has been promising.
"We just had a mini camp down in Florida and everyone said he looked very good," Anthopoulos said. "Right now, we'll continue to evaluate him going into the spring. We'll see how he looks in the spring, but so far the reports have been good."
Marcum, 28, underwent the ligament-replacement procedure at the end of the 2008 season, when he went 9-7 with a 3.39 ERA over 25 starts for the Jays. Overall, Marcum has gone 23-15 with a 3.85 ERA across 64 career starts in his time with Toronto.
After the Blue Jays traded ace Roy Halladay to the Phillies in December, Marcum and lefty Ricky Romero became favorites for the top slot in Toronto's rotation. Other rotation candidates this year include Brandon Morrow, Marc Rzepczynski, Brett Cecil, Scott Richmond and David Purcey, among others.
Toronto has five arbitration-eligible players remaining -- Jeremy Accardo, Shawn Camp, Jason Frasor, Casey Janssen and Brian Tallet -- and the club plans on going to a hearing with any who do not sign before Tuesday's salary exchange deadline.
That is a change of philosophy implemented by Anthopoulos, who wants to avoid last-minute negotiations before a possible hearing.
"I made a change this year," Anthopoulos said. "The thought was, really, it's hopefully to encourage more dialogue in negotiations with the goal of continuing to avoid arbitration and continuing to try to get deals done and maybe bring both parties to the table a little bit sooner."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.