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2012 Free Agency: Former Pirates' Starter Paul Maholm To Sign With Cubs?

When the Pirates didn't pick up Paul Maholm's option for 2012, instead opting to pay his $750,000 buyout, it wasn't widely believed that Pittsburgh would re-sign him. That now appears to be reality as Ken Rosenthal says the Chicago Cubs are close to a deal with the former Pirate starting pitcher:

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The Cubs, continuing to rework their starting rotation, are close to signing free-agent left-hander Paul Maholm, according to a major-league source.

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Maholm, 29, went 6-14 with a 3.66 ERA for the Pirates last season, ending the year on the DL with shoulder trouble. The Pirates paid him a $750,000 buyout rather than exercise his $9.75 million option.

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On the surface, Maholm's record looks pretty bad, but if you followed the Pirates last year, you know he was one of the team's most dependable pitchers, as his ERA suggests. Pittsburgh signed starter Erik Bedard in the offseason and that appeared to seal Maholm's fate. But it would have been nice if they could have found a way to get both, since the rotation still has plenty of uncertainty.

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For more on the Pirates, check out SB Nation blog Bucs Dugout.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.