Maholm threatens to join trade-rumor list
CHICAGO -- Nice outing Paul Maholm, now welcome to the Cubs’ trade-rumor list.
Brian Kersey/Getty ImagesPaul Maholm could be pitching his way on to the trading block.
When you are rebuilding like the Cubs are these days, any effective veteran becomes a trade chip. Maholm showed Friday with his near complete game that he could have value for any contender that needs a left-handed starter for the second half.
The outing did come against the Astros, one of the few teams with a team batting average worse than the Cubs’, but it could be a sign that as the temperatures continue to warm, Maholm could be heating up as well.
While there are no trade rumors of any significance at this point when it comes to Maholm, that can change if he continues to pitch like he did Friday. His next outing comes Wednesday at Atlanta’s Turner Field where he has a 1.73 ERA in four career starts.
Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza have been mentioned the Cubs’ most obvious trade possibilities with the non-waiver deadline coming in a month. The resurgent Alfonso Soriano has also been the subject of some speculation, although his situation is a bit more cloudy.
“I’ve dealt with stuff for three years that Demp and Garz and Sori, everybody (are dealing with),” Maholm said. “It’s part of it. You just go out there each day and be prepared, do your job and it’s in their hands. We’ll see. I’ve enjoyed it here and want to be here and obviously enjoyed pitching in this ballpark. All I can worry about is Wednesday in Atlanta and go from there.”
Maholm was just two outs away from his first complete game shutout since last season with the Pirates against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He gave up two ninth-inning hits, though, and was pulled with the Cubs holding on to a four-run lead. Closer Carlos Marmol escaped the jam and finished off the 4-0 victory.
The outing was a far cry from his performance at Arizona last week when he gave up six earned runs on nine hits and three walks over 3 1/3 innings.
“I wanted it,” Maholm said of Friday’s potential complete game. “Obviously I understand the situation. I gave up two hits. But after the last outing I’ll take what I got and go on and I usually pitch good in Atlanta so I’m looking forward to getting into the hot and humid weather and letting my sinker work a little more.”
His start on Wednesday will be his last one of the first half. After that it will be 2½ weeks to the trade deadline to see if his reward for some productive outings will be a plane ticket out of town.