Rumored deals would gut Cubs' rotation

PITTSBURGH -- Can one team lose three-fifths of its rotation to trades in a three-game series?

Don’t count on it said Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum, whose starters Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Paul Maholm all have been mentioned in possible trade-deadline deals.

“Like I keep saying, it’s that time of the year,” Sveum said Monday before a start of a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. “When you have the commodities that people want, anything can happen at any given time. Are there odds of all three of them being gone? No. Those are very impossible odds.”

Maholm will start Tuesday against the Pirates and his next outing is also in line to take place against his former team at Wrigley Field next week.

With the Pirates in contention in their division for a second consecutive July, they might want to bolster their pitching staff with a pitcher they know inside and out. Maholm was a first-round pick by the Pirates in 2003 and spent seven big-league seasons with them.

“There are rumors and we’ll see how it turns out,” Maholm said. “It should be an interesting few days or whatever we’ve got [until the July 31 deadline.]”

The Pirates’ intimate knowledge of Maholm and the fact they will see plenty of him over the last week could make this an easy trade to swing.

“I don’t think they have to send scouts out to see me,” Maholm said. “Nothing has really changed from the time they drafted me until now. I’m going to enjoy it and enjoy competing against the guys tomorrow.”