Paul Maholm Rumors
The relative inactivity of the Yankees and Red Sox on the market for expensive free agents has rendered this offseason a strange one, writes Peter Gammons of MLB.com. Both clubs are concerned about the luxury tax in both the short and long terms, one GM tells Gammons. Here are some other tidbits of note ...
- Gammons wonders whether there’s a fit for free agent Prince Fielder other than the Nationals: “Where is there a team with local media rights that Fielder could impact? And local media rights is what's driving the cars these days, as Albert Pujols knows.”
- However, if the Rangers get a deal done with Yu Darvish, the "Fielder watch will come into focus," especially if the Nationals back off and Prince doesn’t want to play for the Mariners.
- As for Ryan Madson, the race between the Angels and Rangers for supremacy in the AL West could re-shape the market for the free agent closer. Halos GM Jerry Dipoto, in particular, is keeping an eye on the right-hander to see if his price comes down.
- The Red Sox are looking at lefty Paul Maholm, and they might be interested in Aaron Cook if the righty is amenable to signing a minor league deal with incentives. Cook has a history with new Boston pitching coach Bob McClure.
- The Red Sox inked right-hander Carlos Silva in hopes of making him 2012’s Freddy Garcia, who was a nice value signing for the Yankees on a one-year, $1.5MM deal last season.
Within this week's Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that Kevin Cash has decided to end his playing career. Let's take a look at a few other notes Cafardo shared in his column....
- Addressing the starting rotation, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says the team may "buy low on some guys and create a competition in camp." One buy-low candidate the Sox are known to be eyeing is Paul Maholm. Cafardo expects the former Pirate to sign a one-year, incentive-laden deal somewhere.
- The Red Sox may also have Joe Saunders on their radar. One NL scout weighed in on the southpaw: "You'd be afraid that he'd give up some homers at Fenway. But on the other hand, when you've got a guy who can pitch 200 innings from the No. 4 spot in your rotation, I'm telling you, that is effective because that's one of the bullpen spots in the rotation. I mean, that's where you normally believe you have to use a lot of your pen, and if a guy like that saves you, that's important."
- The Cubs are willing to absorb most of the $54MM remaining on Alfonso Soriano's contract in order to facilitate a trade.
- According to Cafardo, many teams, including the Red Sox, Cardinals, and Rays, will become more interested in Ryan Madson if and when his asking price drops. I have my doubts that Madson will become inexpensive enough for the Rays to get too involved.
- 40-year-old lefty Ron Mahay says he feels great and intends to continue his pitching career. Mahay recorded a 3.44 ERA in 34 innings for the Twins in 2010, but couldn't crack the big league roster for the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, or Cardinals in 2011.
The Red Sox and Mariners are among the teams interested in Paul Maholm, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Cubs and Orioles are still in on the free agent left-hander and the Pirates remain in touch with him. The Padres have also been linked to Maholm, a Bo McKinnis client.
Maholm, 29, posted a 3.66 ERA with 5.4 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and 49.9% ground ball rate in 162 1/3 innings for the Pirates in 2011. He spent the end of the season on the disabled list recovering from a shoulder injury and the Pirates chose a $750K buyout over a $9.75MM club option in October.
The Red Sox could use rotation depth behind Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard. The Mariners, who locked up Hisashi Iwakuma yesterday, are open to the idea of adding another veteran arm if the price is right, according to Rosenthal.
- Free agent right-hander Rich Harden is drawing interest from teams that would use him either as a starter or a reliever, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Harden posted 9.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 82 2/3 innings as a starter for the Athletics in 2011.
- The Twins continue eyeing affordable right-handed relievers and have been in touch with the agent for Dan Wheeler, according to Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com. Wheeler, who has also drawn some interest from the Pirates, sits below a couple of pitchers on the Twins’ list.
- The Pirates have had discussions with free agent left-hander Paul Maholm, but it remains highly unlikely that he'll return to Pittsburgh, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- The Mat Latos trade improved a Padres farm system that already ranked among the game’s best, Jim Callis of Baseball America wrote in this week’s edition of Ask BA.
- One MLB executive suggested to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Cubs and Blue Jays may prefer to pass on Prince Fielder, since Joey Votto projects to hit free agency two years from now when both Chicago and Toronto could have stronger teams (Twitter link).
- Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com provides contract details for Mets relievers Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco, who both agreed to terms during the Winter Meetings.
Wei-Yin Chen, Edwin Jackson, and Paul Maholm are among the pitchers of interest to the Orioles as they seek to further upgrade their rotation, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Their interest in Chen has been known for a while, and last Thursday Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun linked the Orioles to Jackson and Joe Saunders. I added Hisashi Iwakuma to the list yesterday.
Last week, Connolly wrote that Jackson's upside intrigues the Orioles, though Duquette and the team have historically been reluctant to give pitchers four-year deals. Today, Rosenthal writes that the Orioles expect Jackson will be beyond their price range. He notes that Roy Oswalt and Hiroki Kuroda are not realistic for Baltimore given their desire to sign with contenders.
Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune held his weekly chat with fans today and shared some news about some possible moves the Padres could have cooking this offseason...
- Center thinks Anthony Rizzo will be traded "in the next week or two." He predicts Rizzo will be sent to the Rays, who will then flip Rizzo to the Cubs, where he is "still coveted" by (former Padres executives) Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod.
- The Padres will begin negotiations with Cameron Maybin about a multiyear contract once the team has dealt with its arbitration-eligible players. We heard earlier this week that the two sides would revisit contract talks in January. Center predicts a Maybin extension would be worth "at least" $15-18MM and be five or six years in length, which would buy out all three of Maybin's arbitration years and at least one of his free agent years.
- Center believes the Padres will add another pitcher through free agency, and says he's heard the names of Paul Maholm and Jon Garland connected to the club, though Center doesn't think Garland returning to San Diego is likely. Garland pitched for the Friars in 2010 and then opted out of a mutual option to enter the free agent market. Garland ended up signing a one-year deal with the Dodgers but made just nine starts for L.A. due to an oblique injury and season-ending shoulder surgery in July.
- The team "apparently can't put together a deal that would interest Chris Young" since "it would have to be incentive laden and the Padres aren't offering incentive contracts." Young, who pitched for San Diego from 2006-10, has been plagued by shoulder injuries that have limited him to just 22 starts over the last three seasons. Young posted a 1.88 ERA in four starts with the Mets last year before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair an anterior capsule tear in his throwing shoulder.
- "There is nothing close" between the Padres and White Sox about a possible Carlos Quentin trade. The Friars were known to be targeting Quentin last month.
- The Padres may choose to take cash from the Pirates to finalize last July's Ryan Ludwick trade, rather than a player to be named later.
- Center thinks the Padres "desperately" need to acquire a close-to-Major League-ready middle infield prospect.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post shared a number of Rockies tidbits with his Twitter followers this afternoon. Here are a few of the hot stove-related highlights...
- There hasn't been much movement in the Martin Prado trade negotiations between the Rockies and Braves but talks aren't "dead" since Atlanta likes outfielder Seth Smith. It would take a package of both Smith and center field prospect Tim Wheeler to acquire Prado but Renck says the Rockies "aren't doing" that particular deal.
- Colorado still has an interest in Jair Jurrjens, but the Braves' asking price could be "prohibitive" in the wake of what the Padres received from the Reds in the Mat Latos deal. The Rockies like Jurrjens "but aren't trading four guys for him."
- If Smith is dealt, Ryan Spilborghs' return to Colorado is "not necessarily" a given. Spilborghs was non-tendered by the Rockies earlier this month but we heard from Renck earlier this month that the club was interested in bringing the outfielder back at a lower salary than what he would've earned through arbitration.
- There is "very little" going on between the Rockies and Cody Ross, as the team is concentrating on finding pitching. Yesterday, a team source denied a Buster Olney report that the Rockies were in contract negotiations with Ross, though Olney specified that Colorado was only interested in Ross in the event that Smith is traded.
- Renck is "not sure" if the Rockies still have any interest in Paul Maholm. The Rockies and Cubs are the only two clubs known to be connected to Maholm this winter. The Cubs can possibly be counted out of the running due to their recent acquisition of Travis Wood, but more spots could open in the Chicago rotation should Matt Garza and/or Randy Wells be dealt.
- The Mariners' interest in Kevin Millwood won't affect the Rockies' pursuit of the veteran right-hander, as the Rockies only "see Millwood at [a] certain price." Of a group of pitchers that also includes Maholm, Jurrjens and Jeff Francis, Renck feels Millwood is the likeliest to join the Rockies.
- Colorado has been one of baseball's busiest teams this offseason, which Renck says is a reflection of the club's "great disappointment with last season" rather than any sense of 2012 being a "final chance" for GM Dan O'Dowd.
The Cubs are in talks with left-hander Paul Maholm, reports ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine. The team and Bo McKinnis, Maholm's agent, "have been negotiating the parameters of a deal" between the two sides.
Maholm, 29, posted a 3.66 ERA in 26 starts with the Pirates last season before being sidelined by a shoulder injury. The Bucs declined to pick up the $9.75MM option on Maholm's contract for 2012, making the southpaw a free agent after seven seasons in Pittsburgh.
As Levine points out, Maholm's ability to keep the ball in the park (a career 0.82 HR/9) and on the ground (a career 52.3% ground-ball rate) will help him adjust to Wrigley Field. Maholm would be a solid addition to a Chicago rotation that also includes Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Randy Wells, though the latter two have been rumored to be on the trading block.
The latest out of the NL West...
- Signing Tim Lincecum to a multiyear deal is at the top of the Giants' agenda, reports SI's Jon Heyman. The Giants are aiming for at least a four-year deal, which would buy out two years of free agency. Though Matt Cain is a year closer to free agency, Heyman says the focus is more on Lincecum. Heyman believes Lincecum's agents at Beverly Hills Sports Council could file as high as $25MM in arbitration this winter, in my opinion a risky move if the Giants come in around $20MM. For more on Lincecum's historic arbitration case, click here.
- The Rockies will not dabble financially in marginal players, explained GM Dan O'Dowd to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. They do have interest in Paul Maholm, Jeff Francis, and J.C. Romero, though, according to Renck, after bigger free agent targets such as Grady Sizemore and Roy Oswalt.
- The Dodgers will lower their payroll in 2012, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. The team's opening day payroll was about $120MM in 2011. So far this offseason they've added $6.5MM in 2012 salaries for Mark Ellis and Juan Rivera. Here's my offseason outlook for the club.
- Unlike Ellis' deal, Aaron Hill's new contract with the Diamondbacks is not backloaded. He'll earn $5.5MM in each of the '12 and '13 seasons, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Piecoro has an updated look at Arizona's payroll, and concludes that they'd need to non-tender Joe Saunders to be able to afford one of the better free agent pitchers on the market. MLBTR readers are split remarkably evenly as to whether Saunders will be tendered a contract on December 12th.
The decision on Cedeno was the Pirates' one unknown. Though a case could be made that the value of Cedeno's ability to play shortstop exceeded the $2.8MM net price of his option, the Pirates will aim higher than his .249/.297/.339 batting line.
For Maholm, the Pirates chose a $750K buyout over his $9.75MM club option. The lefty told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "The day I was put on the DL, I realized my time in Pittsburgh was done." Prior to that season-ending stint for a shoulder injury, the 29-year-old posted a 3.66 ERA, 5.4 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 0.61 HR/9, and 49.9% groundball rate in 162 1/3 innings. As one of the ten best starters on the free agent market this winter, he's in line for a multiyear deal.
The Pirates' decisions to pay Snyder a $750K buyout over a $6.75MM option and Doumit a $500K buyout over a $7.25MM option were well-known. Both players have offensive ability, and should be relatively popular on the free agent market. Doumit's defense and durability questions will likely prevent a team from offering a full-time catching job, while Snyder will have to compete for one after missing most of 2011 with a back injury.