It was reported a few weeks ago that the Cubs were in talks with free agent lefty Paul Maholm as a cheap option to add to the starting rotation.
Now, it looks as if that is finally set to happen. Early reports trickled out that the Cubs and Maholm were “close” to agreeing to a contract, and according to Maholm’s Twitter account (which is verified) he is set to join the Cubs, and will attend the Cubs convention this week.
Maholm had one of his better years as a pro with the Pittsburgh Pirates last year, compiling a 3.66 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in just over 162 innings. He has a career 4.36 ERA in 185 career starts.
The lone concern with Maholm is his health, as he didn’t finish last year because of shoulder issues. No structural damage was found and it looks like he’ll very easily be good to go for the 2012 season.
The Cubs were one of a few teams in on Maholm, the other big player presumably being the Boston Red Sox, who are also seeking rotation depth. Terms of the contract have yet to be disclosed as the deal hasn’t even been announced by the Cubs yet.
Of course, the biggest question is the effect this has on the Cubs’ rotation. As it stands right now, Maholm is set to join starters Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Travis Wood, and Chris Volstad, possibly among others. In addition to that, the 40-man roster currently stands at 40, meaning some sort of corresponding move will have to be made, and that’s without Kerry Wood.
This is likely a precursor to some sort of move involving Garza, or possibly Randy Wells, unless they plan on using one of those six in the bullpen. Either way, I’d bet we find out before the convention gets underway this weekend.