Dodgers 2014 Player Previews: Paul Maholm Gives Rotation Insurance
2013 stats: 10-11, 4.41 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 88 ERA+, 2.23 K/BB rate, 6.2 SO/9
It was an odd first day of Spring Training as the Los Angeles Dodgers had a locker ready for left-hander Paul Maholm, but refused to announce a deal was in place for several hours. The 31-year-old spent the last two seasons with the Atlanta Braves after spending the first seven years of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Prior to the All Star break last season, Maholm was 9-8 with a 3.98 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and a .271 BAA, but a terrible July made his ERA spike considerably. Not to mention, he dealt with wrist and elbow injuries throughout the second half of the season and was left off the Braves NLDS roster against the Dodgers.
The Dodgers quickly signed starter Dan Haren to a one-year deal in late November, but in not signing Japanese starter Masahiro Tanaka or Bronson Arroyo, they were left thin in the back end of the rotation. Incumbent fifth starter Josh Beckett underwent TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) during the off-season while Chad Billingsley is still recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Thus, Maholm was the choice and he’ll receive a $1.5 million base salary with a point system in place that could take his 2014 earnings as high as $6 million. At the moment, he hasn’t appeared in any of the Dodgers first three Spring Training games as he’s just started throwing live batting practice after experiencing elbow tenderness. With the truncated Spring Training schedule, it’s looking unlikely that Maholm will start the season in the rotation.
Beckett will take his turn on Sunday and pitch in his first game since last May and if he is to struggle, Maholm might be counted on even more in 2014.
2014 Outlook: If Maholm doesn’t win the number five spot in the rotation, he’ll likely serve as the long reliever out of the bullpen. His addition to the ‘pen would likely take away a spot for relievers Chris Withrow, Seth Rosin and even Jose Dominguez.
However, if Beckett falters and Billingsley doesn’t recover quick enough to make a significant impact in 2014, Maholm might find himself reaching all the incentives in his one-year contract.
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