Red Sox Free Agent Rumors: Could Paul Maholm Be the Next To Sign in Boston?

Christopher BenvieCorrespondent IIJanuary 9, 2012

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 18:  Paul Maholm #28 of the Pittsburgh Pirates takes a moment at the mound during the game against the Cincinnati Reds on April 18, 2010 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

According to's Rob Bradford, the Boston Red Sox have added pitching depth in the form of a low-risk, high-reward signing of former Colorado Rockies Ace Aaron Cooke.  By signing Cook to a deal that is worth a prorated $1.5 million (conditional upon Cook making the Major League roster), it appears that the Sox front office is remaining true to form: signing low-cost options to compete for a roster spot.

So...who's next?

According to's Peter Gammons, the Sox had interest in free-agent south paw Paul Maholm at the same time as Aaron Cook.  My question is, what is stopping them from signing Maholm as well?

In a piece written by's own Dan Mennella, he ranks the remaining ground-ball pitchers on the free agent market.  According to Mennella, Maholm is, "52.3 percent.  He's not spectacular by any stretch, but is reliable and should find a home as someone's No. 4 or 5 starter."

It can't hurt to have another ground-ball pitcher in Fenway Park.

In 185 games for the Pirates, Maholm has posted a 53-73 record with a 4.36 ERA and 1.424 WHIP.  Numbers that may not exactly blow you away, but lets not forget, he's been in Pittsburgh, a team that has put up a .406 winning percentage on the average of 66 wins per season his entire time in the majors.

His sample size of work against the AL East is minimal, but here is the overall average: 3-2 with a 2.82 ERA, 1.445 WHIP in six games and 38.2 innings pitched.

With so few appearances against the AL East, I don't feel that his numbers are a large enough sample size to judge exactly how he would do in Fenway, considering he's never actually pitched here either.

Having said that, his entire inter-league numbers are not half bad: 5-10 with a 4.63 ERA and 1.562 WHIP in 19 games and 112.2 innings pitched.

If the Red Sox are looking to add depth for a starting pitcher competition, they could do a lot worse than Maholm.

While Maholm made $6.25 million in 2011 and he just finished up a three-year contract that carried an average annual salary of $4.58 million, so I think he still fits in the affordable range for the Red Sox.

If the Boston Red Sox don't sign Roy Oswalt, Maholm is a nice back-up plan.