BY ROB SHAW
The 8th pick of the 2003 draft, Paul Maholm finishes his Pirates career with 53 wins and 73 losses in 185 starts. He did not carry much momentum at season’s end, as he lost his final five decisions as the opposition hit .355 against him following the All-Star break.
The Cubs are hoping that the southpaw will perform at a higher level outside of Pittsburgh similar to former Pirates hurler Jon Lieber, who excelled with the Cubs. The big question is whether Maholm has the making of an above average pitcher.
Prior to the All-Star break Maholm dominated, limiting the opposition to a .227 average and a .298 OBP. The problem here is that a larger sample size is the 2010 season and the opposition hit .303 against him then.
A move to Chicago does not seem like a career-saver for the 29-year-old veteran. In fact, he will have enough pressure on him simply to stay in the starting rotation.
Despite a run of six straight seasons with 11-plus wins a few years back, Jason Marquis is not considered one of the better hurlers in baseball. After some success including an 8-5 record and 3.74 ERA through 20 starts with the Nationals last season, the New York native did not fare as well when he was dealt to the Diamondbacks. Marquis imploded with a sky-high ERA of 9.53 in three starts.
The main problem for Marquis is that he is simply too hittable. The opposition hit .291 against him prior to the All-Star break and that’s when things were going well for him. He is a junkball pitcher (46% of his pitches are off-speed), who eats innings and gives his team a shot at staying in the game.
The good news is that Marquis moves to a pitcher’s park in Minnesota, which should help keep the ball in play and lead to more outs. While he could reach double digits in wins once again, his fantasy value remains limited due to his lack of strikeouts and soaring WHIP.
The Rays have been known for taking underachieving relievers and making them a part of an elite bullpen. The latest hurler to be added to the mix is former Tigers closer Fernando Rodney, and his potential is sky high.
Rodney has been solid in the past, racking up 37 saves for the Tigers in 2009. However, last season was a step in the wrong direction as he walked more batters than he struck out for the first time in his career. Rodney has a high velocity fastball, and he can be unhittable at times. In fact, last season the opposition mustered just a .224 average against him all season, but because of his wildness, his ERA ballooned to 4.50.
Part of the issue last season was that Rodney was not 100% healthy. This season he should be able to bounce back, and with the Rays pitching tutelage working in his favor, a fine ERA and many strikeouts is very realistic. Regardless, without saves his fantasy value is limited.