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January 16, 2014

Rumor Roundup

Yes, Paul Maholm Still Exists

by Daniel Rathman


Rangers reached out to Paul Maholm
Several days ago, we learned that Rangers starter Derek Holland had suffered a knee injury in a fall at his home, and details later surfaced that it had happened when he tripped over his dog. The left-hander needed microfracture surgery on his left knee, so the Rangers must prepare to do without Holland at least through the All-Star break and possibly deeper into the summer.

Right-hander Nick Tepesch is the most likely candidate from within the organization, but it appears that general manager Jon Daniels is at least exploring the possibility of adding a veteran free agent starter. That news comes straight from one of the still-unemployed hurlers: former Braves southpaw Paul Maholm, who told ESPN and SiriusXM’s Jim Bowden that the Rangers are among the clubs that have phoned his agent.

The 31-year-old Maholm would be hard pressed to replace Holland’s production. He hasn’t been worth more than 1.0 WARP in a season since the 2010 campaign, his penultimate year with the Pirates, and he’s developing an injury history of his own. Maholm missed two weeks last September with elbow inflammation and spent the last 42 days of the 2011 season on the shelf with a shoulder strain.

Nonetheless, the Rangers are low on experienced starters and could use reinforcements, if only because another injury would force Daniels to dig even deeper into the pipeline. The Athletics are expected to contend again, and the Angels and Mariners should be better than they were in 2013, so any further damage to the rotation could dash the Rangers’ hopes of returning to the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the market for Maholm has been quieter than you might expect for a pitcher who is a year removed from consecutive seasons in which he posted a sub-4.00 ERA. Maholm pitched well for the bulk of last year but was done in by a brutal July, when he was knocked around for 23 hits and a 10.13 ERA and worked only 13 1/3 innings over three starts. That rut preceded a month-long stay on the disabled list with a sprained wrist, which Maholm suffered while batting on July 10 and which may have contributed to his plunge.

Maholm bounced back after returning to the mound and posted a 3.99 ERA over his last five starts, even though opponents logged an .815 combined OPS against him. Right-handed hitters were Maholm’s undoing throughout the season, teeing off at a .299/.367/.845 clip, an issue that plagued him before 2011 and 2012, when he largely kept them in check.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: I... (01/16)
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Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Third B... (01/14)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Bringin... (01/21)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Skewed Left: The Histo... (01/16)

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