Paul Maholm Remains A Pirate

Most of the talk over the next few days about the Pirates' moves ahead of Sunday's trading deadline will probably focus on new acquisitions Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick. For that reason, it's probably worth noting here something pitcher Paul Maholm felt compelled to remind everyone of Sunday evening on Twitter.

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Also glad to see another deadline come and go and I am a bucco. #letsdothis #battlingbuccosless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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Trade rumors have swirled around Maholm's name for years and 2011 has been no exception. Heading into  the season, many expected the first four months to be an extended audition for him, the consensus being that the Pirates would be out of the race and looking to ship him and his $9.75 million club option for 2012 to a contending club at the end of July. Even after achieving "contender" status, there was speculation the suddenly pitching-rich Pirates would still sell him off in what turned out to be quite a seller's market this year.

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Instead, he's still with the club as it chases the Brewers and Cardinals for first place in the National League Central, and that must mean a lot to a guy who suffered through six soul-sucking years of losing in Pittsburgh to start his Big League career.

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It's also a signal to the fans that the front office is serious about winning. There was a very valid argument to be made that selling Maholm, even in the thick of this pennant race, was the smart move for general manager Neal Huntington and Co. in the long term. Brad Lincoln is pitching well in Triple-A and Ross Ohlendorf could be returning soon. Both could have stepped in for Maholm had he been traded to fetch a couple prospects and done an acceptable job. The front office stuck with Maholm, anyway, and that, perhaps more than the additions of Lee and Ludwick, should tell you how much urgency management has to make a real run for something down the stretch.

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