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Offers on the table

The Pirates are making efforts to lock up three key players through at least the 2012 season.

This afternoon, several sources confirmed that multi-year contracts had been offered to center fielder Nate McLouth, catcher Ryan Doumit and left-hander Paul Maholm. All three players are in their first year of arbitration eligibility.

Paul Cobbe, Doumit’s agent, plans to meet tonight with Pirates officials. Gene Casaleggio, who represents McLouth, said a face-to-face chat was not yet necessary. Bo McKinnis, Maholm’s agent, was unavailable for comment.

The Pirates want to finalize the contracts within the next six to eight weeks, before the start of arbitration hearings. If the deals cannot be done by then, the team would switch its offers to one-year deals for the 2009 season in a last-ditch attempt to avoid the arbitration process.

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