Dejan Kovacevic is reporting this morning that the Pirates have “had talks” with Paul Maholm about a return to Pittsburgh, but that any such scenario is pretty “unlikely.” I don’t think that there’s really anything too surprising about that report: bringing Maholm back makes sense to me in the same way that signing Jeff Francis would, and you can argue pretty easily that Maholm is a better pitcher than Francis at this point. On the other hand, if the Pirates were really interested in bringing Maholm back, they had plenty of time to make it happen and didn’t, so you’ve got to figure that the Pirates probably have other plans in place.
I think the most important part of DK’s little blurb is this line: “Management continues to seek to add to its rotation, but any additions probably will come from nonroster invitees or means other than a high-profile free agent.” What you take out of it depends on your definition of “high-profile free agent,” but it means that the Pirates are still looking, as we guessed, and that Edwin Jackson is probably not a viable option, which wasn’t hard to infer. Counting Jo-Jo Reyes, the Pirates only have four pitchers on their NRI list and only two of them — Reyes and Shairon Martis — are starters. What that means to me is this: you’d better hope the Pirates sign Paul Maholm or Jeff Francis, because if they don’t they’re signing Aaron Cook or Zach Duke.