For Pittsburgh Pirates fans, the 2012 free agent market for starting pitchers will be simple: compare everyone to Paul Maholm. The Pirates made it clear that they wouldn't be bringing Maholm back in 2012, despite having a $9.75 M option for him to return. With the starting rotation looking like it needs one spot, the Pirates will either need to re-sign Maholm on the open market, or add someone similar to Maholm in order for the move to make sense.
Looking at the available free agents, there are some alternatives to Maholm. Some are clearly out of the price range for the Pirates. Some are better than Maholm, but might come with injury risks that make Maholm the overall better value. But there are some players who are better alternatives to Maholm, and a few that would come cheaper than $9.75 M a year. Before we look at those players, we have to look at what Maholm brings to the table.
When analyzing any player, I like to look at the previous three years of ...
Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.