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Paul Maholm Presents Sleeper Option In MLB Free Agency For Royals

C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle have now come and gone. Roy Oswalt should be next. Some of the front line pitchers are no longer available in the off-season market via free agency or trade and the Kansas City Royals, who could use one more veteran pitcher, especially a dependable one who can eat up innings, have yet to strike. But Daniel Rathman over at Baseball Prospectus brings up another name somehow getting passed over: Paul Maholm.

He writes, "The 29-year-old Maholm will never contend for a Cy Young award, but he deserves far more attention than he’s received. Maholm’s 6-14 record jumps off the stat sheet first, but his career-best 3.75 FIP from last season is far more important, and he was worth 2.0 WARP compared to Saunders’ 1.3.

“Maholm is by no means an ace, but he has the potential to be an effective third or fourth starter on a contender with solid gloves, particularly in the infield. Assuming his shoulder is healthy, as reported, Maholm can be counted on for at least 180 league-average innings. In a market where quality pitchers are hard to find, Maholm—who is likely to settle for a short-term deal even though he is still in his prime—could be a diamond in the rough.”

With that WAR rating, Maholm should be able to command somewhere around $6 to 7 million per season and yet the injury concern might make him a discount player. The Royals should keep tabs and strike a bit later when prices continue to fall after the New Year.