Paul Maholm, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates: Despite a 6-14 record, Maholm, 29, is coming off the most successful season of his career by several measures. His 3.66 ERA was a career best for a full season, as was his 3.78 FIP (a metric that estimates what a pitcher's ERA should've been while factoring in only things he is thought to be able to control). However, I can't shake the feeling that Maholm's 2011 was a bit fluky. Some of it is evident looking at the lefty's batted-ball statistics. Hitters had a .286 average on balls in play against Maholm — not far off the MLB standard in 2011, but the lowest for a full season of his career —despite the fact that Maholm also posted the lowest ground-ball rate (49.9 percent) of his career. It wasn't stellar defense behind him that helped turn all those batted balls into outs, as, statistically, the Pirates weren't impressive in 2011. That leaves us to conclude that a lot of Maholm's success in preventing hits was because of luck — balls hit right at Pirates fielders, for example. Add in the fact that Maholm wasn't the only Pirates starter to have a career year in 2011 (Charlie Morton and Jeff Karstens also posted their best ERAs and FIPs) and it's fair to wonder how much of Maholm's success is repeatable. He also landed on the disabled list last year with a shoulder strain in August. All this doesn't mean that Maholm wouldn't help the Orioles, of course. He has started at least 29 games and pitched at least 176 innings every year of his career except for 2011, and the DL trip last year was the first of his career. He has been very close to a league-average pitcher over his career, which you can't say about many of the Orioles starters over the past few years. He's also going to be significantly cheaper than the other pitchers on Dan's list. The Orioles, however, shouldn't expect him to maintain sub-4.00 ERAs and FIPs going forward, especially with his moving from the National League to the American League, and specifically the AL East.Mark Ellis, 2B, Colorado Rockies: Ellis is 34 years old and coming off easily the worst offensive season of his career. He struggled mightily in Oakland, batting .217 with a .253 on-base percentage and .290 slugging percentage, before being traded to Colorado at the end of June. With the Rockies, his numbers were more respectable — .274/.319/.392 — but still far from impressive, especially with his playing half of his games in a much more hitter-friendly park. Defensively, Ellis is an above-average second baseman. He might make some sense as an insurance policy at second base in case Brian Roberts misses significant time again in 2012, but there are better free-agent options for that role. And the Orioles would still have to depend on someone else to hit leadoff in Roberts' absence; I don't see Ellis getting on base at a high enough clip for the team to be able to count on him there. It's hard to see Ellis providing much value to the Orioles.