Bouncing Marcum would save, not cost $

ATLANTA -- Many people point to 0-9 Shaun Marcum's $4 million base salary as a reason the Mets will conclude he needs to stay in the rotation.

But if that is viewed as a sunk cost, the Mets actually have incentive to bump Marcum to the bullpen when they go from a six- to a five-man rotation, or even designate him for assignment.

Marcum can earn up to an additional $4 million in bonuses based on innings pitched and time on the roster. Having opened the season on the DL and then underperformed, there is no way he can max out. Still, the Mets can save serious cash by opting to go with a five-man rotation of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner.

Marcum earns a combined $1 million bonus for being with the club -- either active or on the DL -- for 150 and 170 days (nearly the entire 183-day season). So a release, or trade, either alleviates that expenditure or shifts it to the acquiring team.

Marcum also gets $250,000 apiece each time he reaches 120, 140, 160 and 170 innings. Will he log that many? He may not collect the full $1 million, but he is at 59 1/3 innings now. So moving him to a relief role pretty much ensures none of those milestones will be achieved.

Here's the full bonus breakdown:

• $250,000 apiece for reaching 120, 140, 160 and 170 innings.

• $375,000 apiece for reaching 180 and 190 innings.

• $500,0000 for reaching 200 innings.

• $375,000 apiece for 90 and 120 days on active roster, or on disabled list for injury unrelated to his right arm.

• $500,000 apiece for being on active roster or DL for injury unrelated to right arm for 150 and 170 days.