CHICAGO -- FOXSports.com reported that the Brewers placed right-hander Shaun Marcum on waivers Tuesday in a strategically-timed move that positions the team to trade him before the weekend.
Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash cited Major League rules in declining to say this week whether the team had placed Marcum or resurgent reliever Francisco Rodriguez -- both free agents after this season -- on waivers, a necessary step in order to trade a player after the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
But the timing of Tuesday's report made sense in Marcum's case. It is no coincidence that the Brewers timed Marcum's return from an elbow injury such that he started Saturday in Pittsburgh and is scheduled to pitch again on Thursday afternoon against the Cubs, a day and a half before the 10:59 p.m. CT deadline for contending teams to trade for a player and have him eligible for postseason play.
According to the FOXSports.com report, Marcum's waiver period expires at noon CT on Thursday, just before that start. If he is claimed, the Brewers would have until the Friday night deadline to negotiate a trade with that team. If unable to make a trade, the Brewers could pull Marcum back from the waiver wire.
If no team makes a claim, the Brewers would be free to trade Marcum to any club.
In either scenario, Milwaukee would be in a much stronger position should Marcum pitch well against the Cubs, against whom he is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA in four career starts.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke made a case over the weekend for a contending club to consider Marcum.
He was 5-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 13 starts before developing stiffness in his right elbow after a June 14 outing at Kansas City.
"Why wouldn't you?" take a look at Marcum, Roenicke asked. "The guy can flat out pitch."
Roenicke also made a strong pitch for Rodriguez, who made his seventh consecutive scoreless, hitless appearance on Monday night. But general manager Doug Melvin said Tuesday that he has not fielded any recent interest in Rodriguez.