The Royals and Pirates have interest in Cubs left-hander Paul Maholm, sources tell Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago. Maholm, 30, threw eight innings of one-run ball in a start against the Marlins today and now has a 4.09 ERA and a 2.38 K/BB ratio in 19 games (18 of them starts) for the Cubs this season.
Maholm has about $1.97MM still owed to him in 2012 under the one-year deal he signed in January. The contract also contains a $6.5MM option for 2013 which could be a key factor for the Royals, who are known to be looking for veteran pitchers who are controllable past 2012.
The Pirates have mostly been linked to big bats on the rumor mill, though they also have several big-name pitchers "on their radar" as they look to improve the team in any way possible in search of the NL Central title, or at least their first winning season since 1992. Maholm is not an ace but he is a known commodity in Pittsburgh, pitching his first seven seasons with the Bucs. Maholm could be had for a cheaper price than other Cubs pitchers like Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster, so the Pirates could save their top prospects as trade bait for a top hitter.