Chicago Tribune: Maholm could bring high price from Pirates

The Pirates sent Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton to the North Side nine years ago this week in a deal that launched the Cubs to a National League Central title.

Now the revived Pirates are looking for help to win the Central, and one of their top scouts has been trailing the Cubs the last week in Chicago and St. Louis.

The Pirates are 10th in NL starting ERA (4.05) and could use another starter for the stretch run. One veteran that interests them is left-hander Paul Maholm, a popular former Pirates pitcher who came to the Cubs as a free agent after Pittsburgh declined a $9.75 million option.

Maholm, who is 4-0 with a 0.89 ERA over his last five starts, is owed only $1.5 million the rest of 2012, an affordable figure for the small-market Pirates.

“I don’t try to figure out where I’m going or anything,” Maholm said. “If it happens, it happens. I have a (club option for $6.5 million in 2013). We’ll see. I have a couple more starts before the deadline, and both of them are against Pittsburgh. It’ll be entertaining in that regard, plus rumors are flying.”

With the Cubs looking for pitching prospects, Triple-A Indianapolis left-handed starters Jeff Locke (7-5, 3.07 ERA) and Rudy Owens (8-4, 3.07) could be on their radar from the Pirates’ system.

“I signed to play here and I’ve enjoyed my time being on this staff and in the city,” Maholm said. “Hopefully it’ll be like (Ryan Dempster) when he came over and I’ll stick here for a while.”

via Paul Maholm: Paul Maholm could bring high price from his old team – chicagotribune.com.

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