Maholm is in the final guaranteed season of a long-term deal he signed before the 2009 season. While Maholm has a club option of $9.75 million attached to that contract, he has publicaly said that he would like the opportunity to see if he could agree to a contract that would keep him in Pittsburgh even past the 2012 season.
The Pirates do not have a firm policy about avoiding contract negotiations during the season, though it is not general manager Neal Huntington's preference.
Given Maholm's contract status, there remains the possibility that the Pirates could be willing to deal him before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline if the club can net something significant in return. While the starting rotation would take a hit if it were to lose the left-hander, the Pirates might have to part with big league talent if they want to land an impact player.
Maholm will take a 6-9 record and a 3.06 ERA into his start on Friday. There are only three National League lefties with lower ERAs this season.