Reds sign veteran southpaw, keep seeking pitching options
CINCINNATI -- The Reds added to their spring training roster over the weekend by signing 32-year-old lefthander Paul Maholm to a minor-league deal with an invitation to the major league camp. He joins a list of competitors seeking one of the two open spots in the Reds' starting rotation or in a bullpen the team has targeted for revamping.
The Reds announced Maholm's signing on Twitter Sunday afternoon.
The signing in and of itself is not one that sends shock waves throughout MLB but it is the kind of move the Reds are in the position of having to make with just a little more than two weeks left before pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear, Ariz., on Feb. 18. Maholm made his debut in the big leagues in 2005 with Pittsburgh and has appeared in 273 games with 250 starts in his 10 seasons. He pitched in 30 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season (with eight starts) before suffering a torn ACL on Aug. 1 while covering first base against the Chicago Cubs.
The Reds added right-hander Jason Marquis in a similar signing on Jan. 21. Marquis, 36, spent last season with Philadelphia's minor leagues as he attempted a comeback from Tommy John surgery.
Maholm's signing brings the number of pitchers the Reds currently plan on taking to the big league camp to 32, including 10 non-roster invitees. Some of those who aren't on the 40-man roster are minor league prospects like Nick Travieso, Robert Stephenson and Jonathon Crawford who will get some experience against the big leaguers and, unless they truly impress, will be sent back down to the minor league camp.
For veterans Maholm, Marquis and Jose Mijares, this is a shot to continue their careers at the game's top level. Mijares, 30, will get a shot at a bullpen spot as the Reds search for a complementary lefthander to go along with Manny Parra and Sean Marshall. Parra battled fatigue most of last season and his role was limited in the second half of the season. Marshall has pitched in just 31 games the last two seasons because of shoulder issues. He had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder last June.
While the Reds are hopeful Parra and Marshall can regain their health and previous effective forms on the mound there are no guarantees and they will look at every possible option.
The trading of Mat Latos to Miami and Alfredo Simon to Detroit opened up the two rotation spots behind Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake.
Tony Cingrani is a front candidate but he too must prove on the mound that he's healthy enough for the job. He started last season in the rotation but was plagued by left shoulder issues, later diagnosed as tendinitis. He made 11 starts and two relief appearances before being sent to Triple-A Louisville on June 20. He never pitched there because of his injury.
Anthony DeSclafani, acquired from Miami in the Latos trade, Daniel Corcino, Dylan Axelrod, Raisel Iglesius and David Holmberg are among other candidates competing for those rotation spots.