The left-handed Maholm, 31, went 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA for Atlanta last year, his eighth season in the Major Leagues. But his elbow flared up in September and he was left off the roster when the Braves lost to the Dodgers in the NL Division Series.
Maholm's signing came after passing a physical exam and one day after Dodgers target Bronson Arroyo signed a two-year deal with the rival D-backs. The Dodgers were hoping Arroyo would accept their one-year offer.
The pursuit of Arroyo, and Maholm's signing, indicate that management isn't convinced it can rely on Josh Beckett to be the fifth starter behind Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and free-agent signing Dan Haren.
Beckett is returning from thoracic outlet syndrome and manager Don Mattingly said Saturday that Beckett comes into camp expected to be "a regular guy" in terms of readiness. The Dodgers won't need a fifth starter until mid-April because of scheduled days off.
Then there's Chad Billingsley, who has rebounded from Tommy John elbow surgery without a setback and is expected to return by June, if not sooner.
The potential surplus of starters is similar to a year ago, when the Dodgers bumped Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano from the rotation after the signings of Greinke and Ryu.
Harang was traded shortly after the season started, Capuano served as a swingman when he was healthy and Lilly was released after several injuries. The Dodgers apparently had no interest in re-signing Capuano.
Maholm has a history of fast starts and late-season fades, often injury related. He was Pittsburgh's Opening Day starter in 2009. He earned $6.5 million last year.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.