Maholm Means 5th Starter in Hawaiian
The Cubs have signed Paul Maholm to a one year deal for $4.25M with a $500K buyout on a 2013 option worth $6.25M. Pretty cheap for a guy that for his career has been about league average with a career 96 ERA+ (94, 87, 114, 94, 79, 105 counting up from 2006). His walks are a little high for a contact pitcher (3.0 BB/9) and he doesn't strike out too many (5.4 K/9) but keeps the ball in the park (0.8 HR/9 helped surely by PNC's large left field). His good years coincide with his better BABIP seasons. In 2008, he had a .290 BABIP and his best season with 206 IP, a 3.71 ERA (114 ERA+). In 2011, he had a .288 BABIP, that led to a 3.66 ERA (105 ERA+). In his bad years, the BABIP is more in the .320 area, although in all cases he's been in the reasonable BABIP ranges. A good defense will go a long way to help him having a solid season, along with a stiff breeze in my from Lake Michigan.
He did have a shoulder injury that ended his season on August 17th last year, which is presumambly all healed up. It was his only trip to the disabled list in his career.
Overall, nothing more than some pitching depth at a decent price that as a southpaw could have some trade value in July.
In other Cubs news, Kaplan reported that the Tigers and Cubs are "down the road' on trade talks for Matt Garza. It seems the Cubs would have to get Jacob Turner in that deal and at least one other good prospect for it to make sense. Kaplan is also saying that Kerry Wood may depart the Cubs afterall. Kaplan tries to shift the blame on Jedstein for not wanting to pay the going rate for 8th inning set-up men. But the Cubs in 2012 are not really a team that needs to pay a set-up man $4M or so, so it's understandable to not give in to sentimentality. I understand Kerry owes Jedstein nothing and the same goes for Jedstein, but Kerry is the one that proclaimed it's the Cubs or retirement, not it's the Cubs at market value or I'll play for another team. To me, considering his injury history, he shouldn't get more than $2.5M with incentives for games finished and if he can get more from someone else, god speed.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.