In one of the Maholm threads Vlad linked to a post about what a #1/2/3/4/5 starter really looks like, and thus is really worth. The metric used was ERA. Whether you think that's flawed is neither here nor there, it was interesting.
With all the hand-wringing over (probably) not picking up Maholm's option, I wondered what NH is thinking. Being an avowed cheapskate myself, I think he's probably thinking of dumpster diving. What might he find? Well, last offseason he might have found:
Harang, FA, $3.5M, $5M mutual option for 2012.
Vazquez, FA $7M, one year.
Humber, waivers, $500K.
Colon, FA $900K.
Capuano, FA $1.5M.
Jeff Francis, FA $2M.
Vogelsong, FA $555K.
Brandon McCarthy, FA $1M.
So most of those guys suck, right? Well, they were all in the top-90 in ERA, meaning they were essentially 1/2/3 starters in 2011.
I've generally felt Maholm is overappreciated by Pirates fans because, (shrug) I guess because he always struck out more guys than Duke. Probably more consistent, but on Duke's best days, he was better than Maholm on his.