Jed Hoyer Discusses Maholm, Garza, and Pitching Staff


When the Chicago Cubs added Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to their front office to lead the organization’s renovation on the baseball side, the belief was that Epstein would be the brains behind the operation while Hoyer would be the voice of the operation. That is not to say that Hoyer does not have a say in the Cubs’ transactions. Nonetheless, Hoyer was the one to address the media on Tuesday regarding the signing of free agent starting pitcher Paul Maholm, trade rumors involving Matt Garza, and the overall construction of the Cubs’ pitching staff.

Hoyer announced on Tuesday that the Cubs and Maholm have come to an agreement on one year. $4.75 million contract. The contract also holds a club option worth $6 million for the 2013 season. In total, Maholm has the chance to earn $10.75 million plus incentives over the course of the next two seasons. Maholm will likely slide into the #3 spot in the Cubs’ rotation behind Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster. But that is subject to change depending how far the Cubs’ advance in their efforts to trade Garza. Speaking of which, Hoyer told reporters that the Maholm signing is not a pre-cursor to the Cubs trading Garza or anyone of their starting pitchers.

"“I’m not going to comment on rumors, but it is important to note this is not a precursor to anything,’’ Hoyer said Chicago Sun Times"

If Cubs’ fans have learned one thing this off-season, it is that Epstein and Hoyer can not be trusted when they make public comments. Need I remind you all that days before the Cubs traded reliever Sean Marshall to the Cincinnati Reds for starting pitcher Travis Wood, Epstein praised Marshall as being the best left handed reliever in all of baseball. Similarly, three days before trading Carlos Zambrano to the Miami Marlins, Epstein told reporters that Zambrano will have an opportunity to earn his way back on the Cubs in Spring Training. Epstein and Hoyer may say one thing, but their actions usually contradict their statements.

The fact of the matter is that the numbers do not add up. The way the roster stands right now; Garza, Dempster, Maholm, Volstad, Wood, and Randy Wells are all listed as starting pitchers. Not included in that list is Jeff Samardzija, who will enter Spring Training with the mind-set of a starting pitcher. The only pitchers who have guaranteed spots in the rotation are Garza, Dempster, and Maholm. Meaning the Cubs will have potentially four pitching vying for the final two spots in the starting rotation. The likely scenario, in my estimation, is one that has Garza being traded and Samardzija beginning the season in the bullpen. In such a scenario, the Cubs’ rotation would consist of Dempster, Maholm, Wells, Volstad, and Wood.

The goal of Epstein and Hoyer this off-season was to revamp the team’s pitching staff. That is goal they have achieved. The Cubs have potentially added three new starting pitchers to their rotation in the form of Maholm, Volstad, and Wood. While the Cubs are certainly not done making moves this off-season, Hoyer is “comfortable” with how the Cubs’ pitching staff is shaping up.

"“I think we’re very comfortable with the names that we have,’’ said Hoyer, who also has Ryan Dempster, Garza and RAndy Wells among his current top six. “You never know what’s going to be available to us [before the season]. We’re happy with the depth we’ve build up over the course of the winter. But it’s a dangerous thing to say you’re ever done.’’ Chicago Sun Times"

One thing the 2011 season proved for the Chicago Cubs is that a team could never have enough starting pitchers. Wells and Andrew Cashner suffered injuries in the early going of the 2011 season and the Cubs never recovered. Whether it was Doug Davis, Rodrigo Lopez, Ramon Ortiz, or Casey Coleman the Cubs were shooting themselves in the foot each time they sent an incompetent starting pitcher to mound in place of the injured Wells and Cashner. So the additions of Volstad and Wood should not be overlooked neither should the Maholm signing. The hope in the Cubs’ front office is that Wood and Volstad return to their rookie form and become solidified members of the Cubs’ starting rotation for years to come.