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 wo...