Former Pittsburgh Pirates starter Paul Maholm has signed a one year deal with the Chicago Cubs that will guarantee the left-hander $4.75 million, including a $500,000 buyout if the team doesn’t pick up its 2013 option for $6.5 million.
After landing Chris Volstad in the Carlos Zambrano trade, and trading for Travis Wood before that, it appears as though the Cubs are going out of their way to form the most reliable back end of a rotation in baseball. I’m not certain that’s a good thing. But it certainly looks as though that’s what they’re doing.
It also gives more credence to the rumours currently swirling that the Detroit Tigers are getting closer to prying Matt Garza from Chicago’s hands. Maholm’s addition means that the team could move Garza and still have five experienced starters in Ryan Dempster, Chris Volstad, Randy Wells, Travis Wood and Maholm.
I mentioned Vostad before, and the comparison between Maholm and him is apt. Both pitchers have underwhelming strike out rates, but exceed at keeping contact on the ground with higher than average ground ball rates. They’re your prototypical pitch to contact pitchers.
Assembling these types of guys would make sense on a good fielding team, I’m just not so certain that the Cubs, who will start the season with an infield of Bryan LaHair, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro and Ian Stewart are really that type of club.