The Chicago Cubs have signed free agent and long-time Pirates starting pitcher Paul Maholm to a contract.
Earlier Monday, there were rumors that the Chicago Cubs were deeply involved in Matt Garza trade talks with the Detroit Tigers. On a related note, or possibly on an unrelated note, later Monday, the Cubs made another move involving a starting pitcher. David Kaplan:
The Cubs just signed former Pirates left hander Paul Maholm. He will be at Cubs Convention on Friday.
Lately there have been rumors that the Cubs were close to landing Maholm, so Monday's news comes as little surprise. No terms or length have been disclosed, but Maholm earned $5.75 million a year ago and then had his season end early with a shoulder strain, so he's not going to break the bank. Early Tuesday, a tweet from ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine set out the financial details:
Breaking news; Chicago Cubs sign LHP Paul Maholm to a 1 yr 4.25 million deal with club opt 6,5 for 2013. 500k B out
One way of looking at Maholm is that, last year, he went 6-14. Another way of looking at Maholm is that, last year, he posted an ERA+ of 105. You'd think those two statistics wouldn't belong to the same person, but for the Pirates in 2010, Ross Ohlendorf went 1-11 with a 99 ERA+, so this kind of thing happens. Maholm's a 29-year-old lefty who throws in the high 80s and generates grounders. He has an uninteresting and unintimidating skillset, but he throws enough strikes and misses enough bats to get by. His career ERA+ is 96. That gets the idea across.
The Cubs now have Maholm and Garza. They also have Ryan Dempster, Chris Volstad, Randy Wells and Travis Wood, and also Casey Coleman, Jeff Samardzija, Andy Sonnanstine and Trey McNutt. The Cubs have a lot of starters. So while this doesn't guarantee a Garza trade, it probably makes a Garza trade a little more likely.