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The Rangers have checked in with free agent Paul Maholm

Jan 15, 2014, 10:55 PM EDT

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Free agent lefty Paul Maholm has drawn a lot less interest than expected, perhaps due to a rough second half of the 2013 season. Maholm, now 31 years old, finished with a 4.41 ERA after back-to-back sub-3.70 ERA seasons with the Pirates in 2011 and the Cubs and Braves in 2012. One would think it would be easy to make some room for him at the back of just about any starting rotation, yet he remains freely and cheaply available.

The Rangers, scrambling for a replacement for lefty Derek Holland after he suffered a knee injury which required surgery, have checked in Maholm recently, reports ESPN’s Jim Bowden. Previous reports have indicated that the Rangers prefer to stay in-house when it comes to replacing Holland, so this may be nothing more than tire-kicking.

Maholm was fantastic in the first half of 2013 for the Braves, posting a 3.69 ERA through the end of June. After three mediocre starts in July, Maholm missed a month on the disabled list with a sprained wrist. He was slightly better upon his return, but wound up missing more time in September with inflammation in his left elbow.

  1. sawxalicious - Jan 16, 2014 at 1:00 AM

    I think the Rangers have a strong enough roster to stay in the thick of the race (if not in 1st place) by the time Holland gets back without going outside the organization. That being said, if they can get Maholn on a cheapy contract, he could be useful to eat innings, be an insurance policy against another rotation injury, and possibly be trade bait at the break. You have never seen a team that suffered because of too much pitching depth.

    • stex52 - Jan 16, 2014 at 8:18 AM

      I agree. It has happened to every team I have seen going into the season lately with “too much pitching.” They end up needing all of that pitching and more. Maholm could be a useful pickup for a good price.

  2. old97 - Jan 16, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Holland had micro-fracture surgery on his pivot leg. It was the kneecap rather than a weight-bearing bone, but the track record for this kind of surgery is not great. The talk here in Dallas is he may be out for the season.

    Given that, I like the idea of Maholm. The Rangers’ minor league system has some good pitching prospects. CJ Edwards (given up in the turned-out-to-be-a-bust Garza trade last year) would have been a great candidate to move up, but there are others. But, history here (and elsewhere) has shown that you’ll always need more pitching than you thought you would. If Maholm can be had relatively cheaply, I’m all for it.

  3. dylanthom2013 - Jan 16, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    Maholm is an extreme groundball pitcher so he’d make a great fit with our great IF D.

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