Will Alex Wood Be Optioned When Paul Maholm Returns?

What happens when Paul Maholm returns?

What happens when Paul Maholm returns?

Atlanta Braves veteran Paul Maholm will most likely be ready to start games at the major league level in the next 10 to 14 days, give or take a few days.

If something doesn’t happen with the Braves current starters between now and then, Maholm’s return will give the Braves six starters.  At the rate that Braves players have been injured this season, you half expect something may happen, although hopefully everyone will stay healthy.

With the acquisition of Scott Downs, the Braves are not desperate to have a second lefty in the bullpen, so I don’t expect Maholm or Wood to go to the ‘pen for the rest of the season.

When deciding who to keep, it will come down to Maholm and 22-year old rookie Alex Wood.  Wood has made the choice difficult for the Braves, with the way he has pitched.  His cumulative stats on the season are 45.1 innings pitched, 2.78 ERA, 14 BBs, 48 Ks.  He has only given up 1 home run in those 45.1 innings!

In Wood’s last 3 starts he has been brilliant (he has made 4 starts total) he’s pitched 19 innings (7,6 and 6) and given up only 10 hits, 4 walks and struck out 17.

Best case scenario would be for Maholm to make a couple of quality showcase starts, to let the rest of the league know he is healthy so he can be traded.  It would be best for Maholm since he is in the last year of his contract and it would be best for the Braves as they don’t need Maholm.

The first question will be, how do the Braves make room for Maholm, if no one is injured, between now and the time he returns?  The second question, how will the Braves work Maholm into the rotation?

To answer the first question, it wouldn’t surprise me if Maholm doesn’t return until September 1 when roster expand.  Even if he is ready before then.  That way the Braves won’t have to make any moves with their current pitching staff.

To answer the second question, I think the Braves could afford to slip Maholm into the rotation a couple of times around the horn.  A six man starting rotation isn’t great for very long, but it may actually be beneficial in September to give the staff an extra day rest on a couple of their turns.

To answer the question posed in the title as to whether Alex Wood may be optioned when Maholm returns…  are you crazy?

  • Bob Long

    I think it could work out in several different ways.

    First,Maholm could be activated on Wood’s day to start near the end of August, with Wood going to Gwinnett to start on that day. Then, on Sept.1, Wood could be recalled when rosters expand. Maholm could then be traded to a non-contender for lower minor league players that will not be called up this year. Second, Maholm (as you noted) could be activated on Sept. 1 (Probably the most likely scenario).
    Third, Maholm could be activated and Terdoslavich sent back to AAA until Sept. 1.
    Fourth, Walden could be DL’ed for recurring back problems (see his ERA over the past couple weeks) and Maholm activated.
    There are lots of options, but Alex Wood will be on the roster on September 1, but will not be added to the Playoff roster.

    • Michael

      Wood should and must be added to the playoff roster. Maholm is only a .500 pitcher, and that will not do for the playoffs. Keep him active and starting henceforth, he is that good.

      • Bob Long

        While I agree with your opinion, I believe that Fredi Gonzalez is too limited in his “thinking outside the box”. Conventional baseball thinking is that you go with the men that got you to the playoffs. Wood has helped, but he was called up to fill-in for injuries. I doubt that Fredi puts him on the playoff roster– at least as a starter.

        • http://atlantabullpen.com/ Jim Hart

          Bob, Fredi has a 6’6″ guy leading off and you think he is limited in “thinking out of the box.”?

      • Ryno Lascavio

        I agree. 4th and 5th slot pitchers are not really a priority in the playoffs. Wood is not only very good, he has something different that tends to work in the playoffs.

    • http://atlantabullpen.com/ Jim Hart

      You think Wood won’t be on the playoff roster, Bob? You don’t like his stats? I think he is the type of pitcher with his herky jerky motion that could give an opponent fits for 5 or 6 innings in the playoffs.

      One good sign for Wood is that both his curveball and change-up are working now so he is a 3-pitch pitcher. I obviously like him more than you do at this point in time.

      • Bob Long

        I never said that I don’t like Wood, his stats or his peripherals. You seem to be reading something other than what I wrote.
        As I stated in response to another post, I doubt that Fredi will consider him for a playoff roster spot. Wood hasn’t been a starter in Atlanta all year. He was called up as an injury replacement. A “PLAYER’S MANAGER” will be loyal to the players that he selected coming out of spring training, unless that player gets hurt, gets traded or sucks so badly that the manager loses confidence in that player. The fact that BJ has played almost everyday he has been healthy confirms this. In the eyes of a PLAYER’S MANAGER, Wood may be good, but he’s young and wasn’t here all season. You dance with the people that took you to the dance, which wasn’t Wood. He came in later.
        Besides, who would you eliminate, Maholm, the seasoned vet?

        • http://atlantabullpen.com/ Jim Hart

          Bob, Wood will most likely be on the playoff roster before Maholm ’cause he has proven that he can be effective coming out of the bullpen. So in that sense, Wood is the seasoned vet and Maholm the newbie. Most likely neither one will start a game in the playoffs, except if there is an injury to Minor, Teheran, Beachy or Medlen. Maholm is at best the fifth banana and as you know, you only use four starters in the post season.

  • Michael

    I can certainly agree that it would be ok after 9/1 to insert Maholm for a start or maybe 2, so the league can see he might be trade material, but with Wood being SO good, and Maholm only average at best, keep Wood forever and shop Maholm no matter the cost.