Despite underwhelming velocity, Paul Maholm was selected in the first round of the 2003 MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates because the Bucs wanted safe college talent. He had a successful debut in 2005 but struggled over his next two seasons. His 2008 was also good, but he once again struggled over the next two years. He had a 3.66 ERA in 2011 for the Pirates and a 3.67 ERA in 2012 for the Cubs and Braves. He was signed before the 2012 season by the Cubs and was traded at the deadline to the Atlanta Braves.
Maholm had a poor 2013, posting a 4.41 ERA—good for an 88 ERA+—over about 150 innings. However, his peripherals were significantly better than his ERA would suggest. His 3.89 xFIP was close to league average and would suggest that Maholm could provide similar value to Jon Niese and Dillon Gee going forward. Maholm spent some time on the disabled list in 2013 for a left wrist injury, but that doesn't appear to be a particularly worrying injury for him.
The Mets have some impressive starting pitching depth, but they may prefer to leave Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, and Jacob deGrom in the minors for the early part of the season. Niese, Gee, and Zack Wheeler are the only three starters guaranteed a spot in the Opening Day rotation, while Jenrry Mejia seems likely to get a shot as well.
Maholm would give the Mets some guaranteed innings, which is important given Mejia’s injury history and Niese’s shoulder issues in 2013. Maholm would join Niese as the only southpaws likely to make an impact in the rotation in 2014. The Mets could do something similar to what the Cubs did—and what they did themselves with outfielder Marlon Byrd this year—sign Maholm as a free agent and later trade him for prospects. If the Mets do indeed seek another starting pitcher, Maholm would be a good fit.