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UPDATE: Paul Maholm spilled the beans on his (verified) Twitter account tonight, letting the world know that he was coming to the Cubs, and thanking Pirates fans for their support. The terms of the deal are yet unannounced, and his deal won’t be finalized until a corresponding 40-man roster move is made to open up a spot for him. Maholm says he’s looking forward to, among other things, the Cubs Convention this weekend.

Earlier:

Bruce Levine and Ken Rosenthal are reporting that the Chicago Cubs are working on signing 29-year-old lefty starter Paul Maholm, with Rosenthal saying a source tells him a deal is “close.”

There have been rumors of the Cubs bringing in Maholm for a while now, but the lefty apparently wanted to shop around a bit before settling in with the Cubs.

If the Cubs do sign Maholm, there are two matters of “space” to be considered. First, there is the 40-man roster, which currently stands at 40 (without Kerry Wood), though there are at least a couple arms who could be jettisoned if there isn’t a commensurate trade made to open up a spot for Maholm.

The second “space” issue is squarely in the Cubs’ rotation. Yes, Maholm is coming back from shoulder trouble, but there have been no indications that anyone is pursuing him as anything other than a starting pitcher. If that’s the case, the Cubs will have at least six sure-fire starting pitchers in Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Travis Wood, Chris Volstad, and Paul Maholm. The Cubs have repeatedly said they want to accumulate starting pitching depth, but signing Maholm feels more like an indication that one of the other five starters – most likely Garza, Dempster, or Wells – could be on the way out. It’s theoretically possible that Wells could work in a swing role – or Wood or Volstad, I suppose – but I doubt it.

From an earlier post on Maholm:

Maholm, 29, is coming off a solid, if unspectacular season, which saw him put up a 3.66 ERA and 1.294 WHIP in 162.1 innings. His 105 ERA+, only the second above-average full season in his career, suggests he was only marginally better than OK, though. On the right contract – read: cheap – Maholm could be a fine back-end of the rotation type, especially if he’s paired with an improved defensive infield (he’s a ground ball pitcher who doesn’t strike too many out).

The rub with Maholm?

He pitched only 162.1 innings last year because his year ended early with a shoulder strain (though Dr. James Andrews found no serious structural damage). He was cleared for workouts in late October, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be as effective when he returns next year.

It tends to be the case that, when you get multiple reports that a deal is “close” with no details beyond that, the writers with the info are already typing up their “Cubs sign Maholm” articles. Chances are a deal is coming soon, and probably for a couple years and something in the low teens of millions. I’ll update this post if the signing happens.

  • Kerf

    Solid move and opens the door to move him at the deadline if he has the type of year we all hope for. You’ve got to believe that teams of the big SP FA-to-be are going to have a hard time extending them when their agents are probably advising them to see how far team like the Cubs, NYY, etc. are going to go to get that upper-tier rotation.  

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    i think we’ll be alot more likely to spend on top tier pitching than anything else

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    the giants won it all with little more than top tier pitching and timely hitting.

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    brett do you still think we trade garza, or extend him… or is it as it appears… hard to say?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think the likely outcomes for Garza are all pretty close to even odds: traded, extended, neither (and held until the trade deadline, for example).

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        If I had to bet, though, I’d bet on a trade before ST.

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    anxiety is what i get from garza talks

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    but i think the club has established its “high”asking price and now there just waiting on a phone call.

  • Hawkeye

    The Garza trade landscape could all change in a 9 days if the Rangers can’t nail down Darvish?   If they are unable to sign him, what is the next step in the process for Darvish.  Does the posting happen all over again, or do they immediately go to second place in the previous bidding?

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      that is a good question. but isnt darvish asking for 100M for 5 years? thats completely out of the question

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      no way you give the guy a sabathia contract before he throws a single pitch in the bigs.especialy seeing that you just gave 51M just to talk to the cocky bastard

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nothing happens at that point. The Rangers get their posting money back, and Darvish goes back to Japan for another year. They could post him again next Winter (he’s not a true FA until after 2014, I believe).

      • Hawkeye

        And the chances of that happening are???

        • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

          i think given the circumstances the chances are good they dont sign him. it would translate to a $151M 5yr deal. could any club have that much faith in a possibility,not a certainty.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          They’re really far apart in negotiations, but I just can’t see it falling through. Both sides have a lot to lose by not getting a deal done. It does happen, though, even with relatively high profile players. The A’s couldn’t reach a deal with a pitcher they’d bid almost $20 million to negotiate with (Iwakuma) last year.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com ZachCubs82

    In Theo I Trust! Can not wait for the Cubs convention this year!

  • tex134

    What is the procedure for moving guys on and off the 40 man roster

  • BetterNews

    Brett–If Maholm is signed do you see Randy Wells being dealt?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      My gut says, if Maholm is signed, one of Garza/Dempster/Wells is dealt. Garza is probably the most likely. Wells probably doesn’t have a great market, and it’s possible the Cubs don’t mind stashing him elsewhere on the roster (or shuttling him to AAA – *believe* he has one option year left).

  • bob

    The lack of signing of a “big-name” free agent position player (or pitcher for that matter) could just be waiting until all of the prospects we’re looking for are in place. We wouldn’t want to block one of our future pieces by signing someone prematurely.

  • die hard

    another rehab project…..does Theo own stock in a HMO?

  • Dustin

    Brett. I’m hearing the cubs and tigers are close to a trade. Garza for several top prospects..have you heard this!?!? I sure hope its Turner and Castellanos/Crosby

    • JR1908

      I saw the same thing. David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com reports that the Cubs are “down the road in discussions” with the Tigers involving a trade of Matt Garza.
      If completed, the Cubs would receive a package of prospects in return. Though Kaplan doesn’t have any specifics of the players being discussed, the Cubs would probably ask for either right-hander Jacob Turner and third baseman Nick Castellanos — the Tigers’ best two prospects — as the centerpiece. Multiple teams have expressed serious interest in Garza this winter, including the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays.

  • Pingback: Report: Cubs “Down the Road” in Trade Discussions with Tigers about Matt Garza | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

  • PeteG

    I actually really like the signing of Maholm. We are not going to contend this year and who knows maybe he has a nice first half and we can trade him for some prospects. Wishful thinking maybe but he’s not a bad starter, better then Casey Coleman in my opinion.

    • http://bleachernation loyal100more

      better than alot of starters in the majors and a whole lifetime better than coleman. great signing

      • PeteG

        I know being better then Casey isn’t exactly high praise but I have a belief that Maholm will prosper as a Cub. Call it optimism but I think Wood and Volstad will do very good also.

        • http://bleachernation loyal100more

          i share your optimism pete! i think we could be surprised with a few of the new guys… they are x factors with upside potential and time on there side…young and cheap to boot.

          • PeteG

            I agree with you totally sir, too bad not everyone agrees with us. It’s a rebuild you can’t expect wonders! This will take time but I believe in Jedstein.

            • http://bleachernation loyal100more

              at long last… a lagit reason for cub fan everywhere to say” just wait till next year” man ive been saying that for 25 years without even thinking about what im saying. loyal and blind as a fan i guess

  • JJ

    While other teams are trying to accumulate front end of the rotation pitchers, Theo & Jed are taking a different approach and loading up on #4 & 5 starters…genius! I think we could use several more utility infielders on the roster and some more help in middle relief too.

    I kid…I actually love their approach of young talent and building up the farm system instead of patching holes with more monster contracts. Bring in Turner and others from Detroit…should be exciting to watch the next few years…

    • Kyle

      It’s a sabermetrics-savvy front office now. Maholm is yet another pitcher that sabermetric projection systems love, and expect to be much improved in 2012.

      Peripherals-based projections put Maholm and Wood as league-average starters (no. 3s) next year, and Volstad maybe even a solid 4.

      • PeteG

        Those projections aren’t out of this world. I can see them happening. But neither way we are not contending this year so who cares!

      • BetterNews

        Here we go. Sabermatricians all over.

        • PeteG

          Not a sabermatrician by any stretch of the imagination. Just a Cubs believer and optimist. I won’t lie I wanted Andrew Friedman but I’ll make due with Theo and Jed. I believe that within a few years we will contend.

  • http://bleachernation loyal100more

    im alright with not contending as long as were going in a good direction, amen?

    • PeteG

      Amen. Just broke up with gf so I’m definitely excited for the season. Maybe I can pull a Rickett and meet my future wife in the bleachers?

      • http://bleachernation loyal100more

        sorry to here that my cub fan brother… new year, new team, new…?

  • Spoda17

    I think this is the end of Matt Garza in Chicago…

  • Spoda17

    …one more comment… we have a lot of “back-end” of the rotation guys…

    • JasonB

      We had a lot of “shouldn’t have been in the rotation” guys last year so this is an improvement.

  • http://bleachernation loyal100more

    and one of them is now a padre in exchange for rizzo….yeeee hawwww!!!

  • sam

    Remarkable signing I give it a 1 band-aid out of 5 . 5 being bad.

  • Jeff L

    lol Yes I think a 53-73 record is a pretty damn good signing for Hoyer and Epstein. I guess that’s the price of Ricketts wanting to be as cheap as he can.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Did somebody type something?

      I swear I just read a dumba** comment.

      Hmm, weird.

      • http://bleachernation loyal100more

        sam and the nay sayers at it again… only i am not mad at you any more cuz i relize you are just all strongly objective cub fans that are tired of selling out the’re hopes and dreams on a yearly basis… i am the type that sells out every year i just see something good when i look at the cub even when what im looking at is actually a looser… i see a looser in winners clothing…im an optimist but i recognise all fans as brothers

      • http://bleachernation loyal100more

        actually im honestly a bit drunk and will probably hate them again in the morning….go cubs!

    • The Next Theo Epstein

      Using the wins and losses of a player who has been incarcerated on a perennial losing team to determine his absolute worth = facepalm.

      • ferrets_bueller

        and using the wins and losses to evaluate a guy who pitched for the freaking Pirates!!!! is deserving of a double faceplam.

  • http://bleachernation loyal100more

    when i wake up will garza still be a cub?

    • BetterNews

      Yep!

  • http://bleachernation loyal100more

    yea probably

    • BetterNews

      Maholm trying to shop around? Yo kidding me!

  • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

    Just curious,

  • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

    Just Curious Brett. The Met’s just placed Danny Herrera on waivers. Any chance you think we claim him. Career 3.76 ERA. He is only 27. And more important, he’s basicly free.

    • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

      Also, Fernando Martinez reminds me of a Big Papi type of move.

  • Brian Myers

    I just read a Cubs source confirmed the signing, a one-year deal worth $4.25 million with an option for 2013 and $500,000 buyout.

    I wasn’t big on this signing until I saw it was just a one year deal with an option, now it makes sense. It gives them some short term depth at a salary well within their budget numbers (with room still to take on more). It’s not an “impact” signing, but he’ll give the Cubs an experienced arm should/when they require it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Just curious where you read it, Brian (the post is now up with the details – first place I saw it was Bruce Levine).

  • sam

    The Cubs signing Maholm is a good move it may not be a blockbuster but it is smart . He is a left hander and plays the game hard. Although he may not have superstar stats he is a pitcher that will pitch every 5 day he will keep the team competitive. He is a professional and his experience in the central will be an added bonus in the club house .but because he was hurt last season and on the dl for 60 days a 1bandaid rating out of 5 ( with5 being the worst) is justified .

  • ferrets_bueller

    Holy crap that contract is awesome.

    My only concern on this yesterday was going to be the money- I was thinking we’d have to pay somewhere between 7-9 million for one year.  This is an absolute steal.

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