Posted on 10 January 2012 by Lou
The Cubs continue to tinker with their starting rotation – inking lefty Paul Maholm to a 1-year, $4.5 million deal. The Cubs have a $6.5 club option for the 2013 MLB season or the Cubs can buy him out for $500,000. Maholm has pitched 6+ seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates after being selected in the 1st round by the NL Central foe back in 2003. He has a career 53-73 record with a 4.36 ERA. Despite having a “down year” in 2011 – he went 6-14 – it was also the 1st time in his career where he completed a full season with a sub-par 4.00 ERA (3.66). He is a sinkerball pitcher which could aid him in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field – he has allowed less than 1 HR per 9 innings for his entire career and he has also averaged just 13 HR’s allowed person during his career.
GM Jed Hoyer had this to say about Maholm – “Maholm is a ground ball pitcher and Volstad is a ground ball pitcher so that’s important. It’s important to have a mixture on your staff. You don’t want a staff of all ground ball guys or all fly ball guys. You want to have pretty good diversity.” Maholm and newly acquired Travis Wood will serve as the 2 two lefty starters on the Cubs 2012 rotation. Hoyer went on to say – “I think we are very comfortable with the names we have. You never know what is going to happen over the course of the winter and what is going to be available to us. But what we said was that a huge priority was building depth. We feel like we’ve really done that.”
These guys are going to turn the Cubs into World Series contenders, but they are nice innings-eaters and should keep the Cubs in ball games during the 2012 MLB season. It won’t always be pretty, but it is what it is…
Posted on 21 December 2011 by Lou
Let the questions start rolling. Theo & Co. have traded their most reliable reliever, 29-year old Sean Marshall, to the Reds for lefty starter Travis Wood. Not sure how this makes the Cubs better, but is clear that Theo & Co. value starting pitching above relief pitching and that the Cubs intend to try to acquire younger talent to continue building from the ground up.
Wood is 25 years old. In 2011, Wood made 18 major league starts, going 6-6 with a 4.84 ERA (he also made 10 starts at Triple-A Louisville). His rookie season was much better – in 2010, Wood made 17 starts, going 5-4 with a 3.51 ERA. But the 200+ innings in 2010 may have taken a toll on his body thereby limiting his effectiveness in his sophomore season.
Marshall was one of the best left-handed relievers in all of baseball in 2011. He had a nasty 2.20 ERA and his 34 holds was 2nd best in all of baseball among lefties. The 34 holds was a Cubs record. Marshall was set to make $3 million in 2012 and he was eligible to test the free agent market following season, so the Cubs struck first while the iron was hot.
The bullpen is going to be a wreck next year with this move. Maybe with an improved starting pitching staff, there will be less pressure on the bullpen, but taking Marshall out of the mix leaves a huge void for that lefty set-up man. You can’t tell me that James Russell, Scott Maine or John Gaub are going to be the guys to step right in and become reliable or dependable all of a sudden. I just don’t see it.
But I guess this is the time where we just have to trust the observations, research and decision-making of Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything new.