Pirates will decline $9.75 million 2012 option on Paul Maholm

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Paul Maholm can be added to the list of free agent starting pitchers, as the Pirates have decided not to exercise their $9.75 million team option on the left-hander for 2012 and will give him a $750,000 buyout instead.

“I’m going to test free agency and see where it goes,” Maholm told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

It likely wasn’t a tough decision for the Pirates, as Maholm has failed to develop into more than a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter and at age 29 won’t get anywhere near $9.75 million per season on the open market.

He posted a nice-looking 3.66 ERA this season, but it came with a mediocre 97/50 K/BB ratio and he was limited to just 162 innings. Maholm has a 4.36 career ERA, but has cracked 200 innings just once in six full seasons. He’ll make a nice third or fourth starter somewhere, probably for a multi-year deal worth less than $9.75 million combined.

Adrian Gonzalez might retire after his contract is up if his back isn’t any better

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Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:

“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.

“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”

Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.

The Cubs send Kyle Schwarber to the minors

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Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.

Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.

Now this:

The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.