Saturday, February 8, 2014

With Arroyo in Arizona, Maholm seeks his chance in LA


Paul Maholm is officially a Dodger, inking a one-year deal for $1.5 million.  It'll be Major League deal, and not a Minor League one which was the expectation, so good for him.


To answer the question I posed in my previous post: "No, because Arroyo apparently doesn't need the Dodgers either."  After flirting with going to LA, Arroyo chose the Diamondbacks for two years (with an option for a third) along with $23.5 million.  Can't blame him there.

Judging by the way Ned Colletti has pursued starting pitchers this offseason by signing Dan Haren and missing on Masahiro Tanaka and Arroyo, it shouldn't come as a surprise that he's looking to add another name for the back end of the rotation.

That man appears to be Paul Maholm.

Maholm is in Glendale, Arizona right now, undergoing a physical and looking to be on the verge of a minor league deal.  Considering there's a locker with the name "Maholm" written above it, I'd say that's a good sign he's a Dodger.

So, let's go ahead and take a look at him.  Last season the lefty was with the Braves, going 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA and 1.41 WHIP.  Those were his highest numbers since 2010 with the Pirates, as the previous two seasons split between the Pirates, Cubs, and Braves saw an ERA at 3.66 and 3.67, along with a WHIP at 1.22 and 1.29.  For his career, he's 76-95 with a 4.28 ERA and 1.40 WHIP.

Right away, the WHIP is what strikes me as way too high, but that could be a bit deceiving, too.  Like I mentioned above, his WHIP was in the mid-1.20 range in 2011 and 2012, which is pretty good..  So, maybe last year was just a hiccup for some reason.

It's also obvious he won't blow anyone away, as he has 950 K's in 1,485 2/3 career innings.  Last year he had 105 in 153 innings.  Considering the Dodgers' pitchers were second in the NL last season in strikeouts, he doesn't exactly fit in.  If he doesn't have his control, he suffers through rough starts.

Still, I'm willing to see where this could go.  Rather than throwing $20 whatever million at Arroyo, maybe a smaller deal like this will bring similar results, as Maholm will only be asked to give some good innings as the fourth or fifth starter.  His numbers last year were high, but the previous two were solid, including less hits than innings pitched in each of them, always a good sign.

Behind the big three of Clayton Kershaw, Zach Greinke, and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the battle for the final two spots looks to come down to Josh Beckett, Dan Haren, and Maholm (Chad Billingsley is out until July).  Dodger fans are reminded about this all the time, but it's so true: you can never have enough quality starting pitching, as evidenced by last season.

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