In early June I wrote a post saying the Cubs needed more from Paul Maholm. At the time he was (4-5) having gone winless over his last five starts and was struggling to get past the fifth inning.
It was unsettling for two reasons:
- 1.) The Cubs simply needed more innings logged from its 30-year-old southpaw to reduce the stress on its subpar bullpen.
- 2.) Maholm’s trade value was seemingly decreasing with each start.
Oh, how things have changed.
Maholm enters today’s game against St. Louis looking to win a career-best sixth consecutive start. He’s (5-0) over his last six outings (five starts, one brief relief appearance vs. Mets before the All Star break) with a dazzling 0.94 ERA.
He’s averaged nearly 8-innings pitched during the stretch and no more than one earned run allowed per outing. His trade value has risen from a blip on the radar to arguably the Cubs strongest trading chip before Tuesday non-waiver trade deadline.
DEMPSTER & GARZA TRADE VALUE THE GREAT UNKNOWN
The precarious case of Ryan Dempster’s refusal to approve a trade anywhere other than Los Angeles (for the time being) has deprived Team Theo of leverage in trade discussions. And it’s entirely possible Dempster may not be dealt at all.
Same can be said for Matt Garza who’s dealing with fluid buildup on his right triceps. Trading for Garza would be to buy “blindfolded,” according to one National League executive speaking to Yahoo! Sports Tim Brown on Friday morning.
This, of course, leaves Maholm as the prized trade piece on a Cubs roster On Sale from top to bottom.
WHO WANTS MAHOLM?
The Pirates and Royals were quickly tabbed as suitors for Maholm two weeks ago. But the list has obviously grown with Maholm pitching like Cy Young and Pittsburgh having already traded for lefty starter Wandy Rodriguez.
The Braves, Nationals and Orioles are still in the market for pitching help, and with Zack Greinke dealt to the Angels and Cole Hamels locked up long-term in Philadelphia, Maholm’s stock is steadily rising with the big-guns falling off the trade board.
The Dodgers, as Cubs fans well know, are also seeking another starter. What a weird turn of fate if Maholm–and not Dempster or Garza–ends up the Cub pitching in Dodger blue.
My gut feeling, however, is Maholm ends up in Atlanta. The fact the Cubs and Braves already came to terms for Dempster, despite the outcome, tells us the Cubs like what the Braves have to offer as far as talented pitching prospects and Atlanta is clearly ready to deal.
I never thought Paul Maholm would be the Cubs saving grace come July 31, but it’s unquestionably turned out that way considering every attempt at rebuilding through the trades of Dempster & Garza has been futile for TheoJed to date. Indeed, how things have changed.