Following his 5th win this season, Paul Maholm could be a very interesting name that bounces around during the trade deadline. The crafty lefty is still finding ways to be successful in the majors. With left-handed pitchers being able to get a job in MLB as long as they pulse, how much could a lefty fetch in the market if they are very successful?
Paul Maholm was never thought of as a top prospect in the game, despite being taken in the first round (8th overall) of the 2003 draft. He cracked the Pittsburgh Pirates Top Ten List, but was lost behind the shadows of Zach Duke and Ian Snell. Duke is now a reliever for the Washington Nationals, while Snell has been out of the big leagues since 2010.
Maholm was a strong starter for the Pirates early in his career, but a inconsistency from 2009 to 2011 led to a lack of interest in the free agency market. He signed with the Cubs in 2012, and pitched great for the under performing club, despite his slow start. He, along with Reed Johnson, was able to fetch Ardoys Vizcaino, a highly touted prospect with arm trouble.
Maholm has pitched great since becoming a member of the Braves, and people think that he could have a career very similar to Jamie Moyer, who pitched until he was 49. Maholm may not pitch that long, but he has the smarts and skillset to have a long career in the major leagues, especially since he was a lefty.
Maholm did not garnish a lot of attention during the trading period of last year, and I still think that the Braves acquiring him was that the Cubs wanted some of the Braves’ young pitching, not because he was being shopped. This is the last year in his contract, and the Braves have Brandon Beachy coming back from rehab, along with Sean Gilmartin, JR Graham, and Alex Wood waiting in the minors.
Trading Maholm is plausible, but it will depend on how ready the younger guys are, including Julio Teheran. With Tim Hudson’s contract also being up following the 2013 season, there could be two open slots in the rotation for 2014. Maholm could be brought back, or simply made a qualifying offer to receive a compensatory pick in the 2014 MLB Draft.
Looking at WAR ratings for teams starting pitchers, the Indians, Orioles, and Giants (really?) are ranked in the bottom 12. I doubt the Giants will be in the market for starting pitching, so let’s say that the Indians and Orioles would be the primary buyers. For the sake of keeping things interesting, let’s look at second basemen rankings for those teams. The Orioles are second to last (in front of the Marlins) in WAR rating. Could the Braves package Dan Uggla and Paul Maholm and receive one of their third base prospects? Maybe. The pieces fit. Now let’s look at the Indians. They have a plethora of shortstop prospects, but the Braves have Andrelton Simmons planted in the position right now. Could the Braves swing a trade for Francisco Lindor, Dorssys Paulino, Tony Wolters, or Ronny Rodriguez and groom them to be a second baseman? Many will say that the haul is too much to expect for half-a-year of Maholm, but don’t underestimate a desperate team like Cleveland.
Too many things are at stake for the Braves to pull the trigger on a Paul Maholm trade for 2013. Beachy’s health and the younger guys’ progression will have to be considered, and a playoff team shouldn’t have to “hope” for results when their starting pitchers take the mound. This 2013 season could be very special with the Braves, and Maholm plays a vita role as an anchor of this rotation. I don’t think a trade will happen, but, if one were to, the Indians and Orioles are the ones I would pay attention to as the trading deadline gets closer.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
The tweet of the night comes from Jeff Schultz, one of my favorite journalists. He makes an observation of Jason Heyward and compares it to BJ Upton.
Jason Heyward on base for second time in first game back. Maybe B,J, Upton should have has appendix out.
— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzAJC) May 18, 2013
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