What Losing Paul Maholm Means for the Cincinnati Reds

By Sean Couch
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Yesterday, it was announced that the Cincinnati Reds released LHP Paul Maholm. Now I know that isn’t exactly the MLB blockbuster news we all enjoy, but this really may be of some importance for the Reds.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to watch my Cincinnati Reds in some spring training action in Goodyear, Arizona. While I was there, I was lucky enough to watch Maholm as the starting pitcher for the Reds. That day, Maholm pitched amazing through his three innings start, producing seven ground outs, one hit, one walk and no earned runs. He looked absolutely fantastic on the mound. But it wasn’t just that day that he looked great; throughout this spring training, Maholm has put up a 2.19 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and had one win. So after watching him and following his impressive spring numbers, I had to say I was shocked that he was released by the Reds.

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And while I don’t yet have all of the details of the release, I instantly felt uneasy about the transaction. Now I know his career numbers aren’t stellar, and Maholm has never been an All-Star, but don’t let that be any indication to Maholm’s potential value for the Reds. Although Maholm may not look great on paper, he may just be the perfect fit in Cincinnati.

To begin with, Maholm is a ground ball pitcher; it’s what he’s known for. He works fast and he gets ground outs and double plays. That’s what he does. He’s not a flame thrower, and he’s not a strike out king. But when I look at the upcoming pitching situation for the Reds, I’m not so concerned about his velocity or how many strike outs he has. Considering where they’re pitching, Great American Ball Park, I just want to know that pitchers can keep the ball out of the air. And Maholm is great at that. He may not be Johnny Cueto, but Maholm keeps balls in the infield.

And that makes him perfect for the Reds. Great American is such a hitter’s park and the Reds need pitchers that can keep the ball from going out of the yard. That ballpark is just too small for pitchers that are susceptible to giving up home runs. Maholm is not a strike out king, but he gets outs, and that should be all the Reds care about.

And even if Maholm does put the ball in play, who cares? The Reds have one of the best defensive infields in all of baseball. So that fits in perfectly with Maholm’s ground out style. Maholm may not have the numbers to back it up, but he’s a great pitcher and could’ve had a great year in Cincinnati, and moreover he may have been a perfect stylistic fit in Cincinnati. And I’m very sorry to hear the Reds cut him.

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