Despite the additions of Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, the Minnesota Twins do not appear to be done adding starting pitching. There are still plenty of rumors surrounding their interest in multiple pitchers, and Mike Pelfrey may be re-signed after spending last season with the team. Could another pitcher who has spent his career in the National League up to this point, like Nolasco and Pelfrey before him, be on the Twins’ radar?
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Thursday that the Twins are “keeping tabs” on veteran left-hander Paul Maholm, who spent last season with the Atlanta Braves and went 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA over 26 starts (153 innings). Prior to that he spent most of his career (2005-2011) with the Pittsburgh Pirates, before signing with the Chicago Cubs as a free agent and then being dealt to Atlanta in the middle of the 2012 season. Maholm has a career record of 76-95 with a 4.28 ERA in 243 games (242 starts), and he has made at least 26 starts in each of his eight full major league seasons (30 or more five times).
Maholm served as the de facto staff ace during some down years with the Pirates, but his peripheral numbers (5.8 career K/9, 2.9 career BB/9) suggest he should be a middle of the rotation starter on a better team. That is where he fit in with the Braves, and even though the Twins are not necessarily a playoff contender he would likely be their No. 3 starter if he is signed.
Maholm is someone that came to my mind almost immediately as a free agent target for the Twins this offseason, though I also feared signing him would be the single “big move” made to add competent starting pitching. But as things are now, with Nolasco and Hughes already aboard, Maholm fits nicely behind the two right-handers and the Twins need to consider adding him if he can be signed to a reasonable contract.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.