Paul Maholm might soon be a free agent

“The Pirates have told LHP Paul Maholm they will not pick up his $9.75 million contract option for 2012,” according to the Pittsburgh Tribune.

The 29-year-old Maholm was 6-14 this past season, but with a 3.66 ERA in 26 starts. However, he missed the final six weeks of the season due to a left shoulder strain.

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There will be people who see the 6-14 record, but it should be noted that he got very little run support pitching for the Pirates this season. In fact, he had a 2.65 ERA in six starts that left him with nothing but no decisions.

He’s a $9 million pitcher, no question. The thing is, his shoulder is a bit of mystery, especially since it had never been an issue for him before this season. He went on the disabled list mid-summer, he experienced soreness, then met with Dr. Andrews, who said there was no structural damage, yet Maholm never returned. Obviously, this is why the Pirates are unlikely to pick up his option, though I am sure they’ll continue to negotiate with him in hopes of working out a new deal. Or, he can test the market, where he would seem to be a perfect candidate for some one like Sandy Alderson, especially if Chris Capuano signs with a new team.