1/10 Hoyer on Maholm, Wood & Samardzija
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer says free agent Paul Maholm wanted to pitch for the Cubs, partly because he wanted to stay in the NL Central. The lefty is a guy who “takes the ball, eats a lot of innings and really has kept his team in games his whole career,” Hoyer said. Maholm was shutdown in August because of shoulder soreness but passed the physical on Monday and says he’ll begin throwing off the mound soon.
Are the Cubs done now as far as their rotation?
“We’re very comfortable with the names that we have,” Hoyer said. “You never know what will happen over the course of the winter, what’s going to be available to us. A huge priority was building depth and we feel we’ve done that. You can never have enough pitching; the minute you think you have enough pitching, you don’t. We’re happy with the depth we’ve built up over the course of the winter. It’s a dangerous thing to say you’re ever done.”
That said, what about reports that the Cubs are talking to the Tigers about dealing Matt Garza? Hoyer would not comment specifically on the rumors. But he did say just because they’ve added Maholm does not mean they are automatically dealing Garza.
“This Maholm contract, and the fact you can look and say we have six starters now, this deal is not a precursor to anything,” Hoyer said.
* As for negotiations with free agent Kerry Wood, Hoyer said the two sides are still talking.
“We continue to want Kerry back in Chicago and we’ve offered him a substantial raise and we certainly hope it gets done,” Hoyer said.
* With the addition of Maholm, the Cubs starting candidates now include Garza, Ryan Dempster, Maholm, Chris Volstad, Randy Wells, Casey Coleman and Travis Wood. Where does that leave Jeff Samardzija? Hoyer said the right-hander will prepare this spring as if he were going to start.
“I think that’s important not only for the possibility that he could be in the rotation but also for his development,” Hoyer said. “If you prepare as a starter in Spring Training, it helps with your command and with your secondary pitches. We do see Jeff as a guy who can start. With the depth, he may wind up being a quality bullpen arm for us but we are going to prepare him in Spring Training as a starter.”
* The Cubs do need to make a roster move to open a spot on the 40-man for Maholm. Hoyer said it’s a procedural thing, and they will announce the move later Tuesday.
— Carrie Muskat