Padres Trade Rumors: Paul Maholm Analysis


Mickey Koke of Through the Fence Baseball reports the Padres have interest in the Pirates’ Paul Maholm.  The Padres have actually shown interest in Maholm dating all the way back to July of 2010.  Nothing materialized back then, but Koke suggests the Padres may once again be interested.  He talks about Maholm and the impact he could have with the Padres.

"Maholm could take some of the pressure off the Padres very young and talented pitching staff. He also could take pressure and some of the work load off Clayton Richard and Dustin Moseley, who are both returning from surgery. More importantly, he’d add much-needed veteran leadership at an affordable price. If the Padres were to sign him, he would probably move ahead of both Moseley and Richard on the depth chart."

With what appears to be a full rotation in place, could Maholm actually add anything the 2012 Padres?

Maholm is just 29 and has already pitched in 7 seasons.  His career ERA is an mediocre 4.36.  He strikes out just 5.5 batters per nine innings.  He has combined for 11.1 WAR in his 7 seasons which equates to about 1.59 WAR per season.  The numbers aren’t horrible, but they are in line with what the Padres generally expect.  Maholm will surely put up better numbers by pitching in San Diego, but his contract makes him hardly worth the signing.

Maholm made $6,500,000 last season.  Each year, he saw his salary increase.  While his performance may not warrant another raise based on his statistics the last few seasons, he is a veteran starter and will surely balk at any offer that is not close to what he made in 2011.  Some might point to Aaron Harang as proof that an expensive free agent can sign for far less than his prior year’s contract.  Harang made $12.5 million in 2010.  He then signed for $3.5 million in 2011 with the Padres.  The difference between Maholm and Harang is age.  Harang was 33 when he signed with the Padres, heading into the back end of his career.  Maholm is still in his prime and has the possibility to overcome the disappointing numbers he’s put up so far in his career.

That being said, if the Padres felt Maholm was worth around $6 million for a year, would they offer him a long-term contract?  It’s unlikely.  They have plenty of stud pitchers waiting in the wings, just hoping for their promotion to the big leagues.  Maholm could be a decent filler for the team, but he still seems like an expensive filler.

The team may be better served by trading for a starter or going with the rotation they have in place.  The rotation figures to be:

1. Tim Stauffer
2. Edinson Volquez
3. Cory Luebke
4. Clayton Richard
5. Dustin Moseley

The rotation may not be in that order, but combined, they can shoulder the load.  An additional starter would benefit the Padres more if it was someone who came cheaper than Maholm or has a better track record.  Just like in 2010, a deal for Maholm probably will not materialize.