20 Days of Thinking Blue: Paul Maholm’s Role

The countdown has begun, kids. Opening Night (well, American Opening Night) is fast approaching as the Dodgers take on the Padres down in San Diego on March 30th. Leading up until then, MAMBINO will tackle 20 of the most important–and some not so important–questions that will get you set up for a season of almost unparalleled expectations. Let’s get it going:

Is Paul Maholm going to be on the roster?

In short, yes.

Maholm is a proven arm. He can eat up a bunch of innings (he’s almost thrown 200 IP in each of his 6 full big league seasons). He also is signed to a major league deal worth $1.5 million with a possible $5.5 million in appearance incentives. The Dodgers signed Maholm with the intention of having him as a workhorse. He doesn’t have an abundance of experience out of the bullpen, but he has signaled his willingness to pitch at any time for a contender like the Dodgers.

The question remains, what are the Dodgers going to do if they have so many arms?

Even before the season begins, I think its pretty clear you can never have too many pitchers. Already, we begin the season with a possibly-healthy Beckett and a rehabbing-from-Tommy-John Billingsley. So having insurance is a helpful thing. The problem that everyone keeps coming back to is Brandon League and his ridiculous contract.

The Dodgers have already cut some arms that will definitely be picked up by other squads (Javy Guerra) and will have to do some more trimming when they put together their full squad post Australia trip (Seth Rosin, a Rule 5 pick who has dominated most of the spring might be one to go). Yet they seem content with starting the season with League AND Maholm on their roster.

The boys in blue are on their Australia trip with Kershaw and Ryu slated to be their starters. The emergency starter? Maholm.

So depending on how quickly Beckett returns from his finger injury (he could be put on the 15 day DL), Maholm might find himself spot starting to begin the season.

As bigger arms return, he will be slotted into the bullpen and probably be a long-reliever from there until deep into October (hopefully).

The question about WHEN (not if) the front office decides to swallow the bitter pill that is something that should come once we have a healthy and rehabbed Billingsley throwing alongside Beckett, Ryu, Kershaw, and Greinke. If Colletti at that time decides that Maholm is the cheaper option to hit the chopping block, we have some bigger front office problems than previously imagined.

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