Amid the dismay about the likely decision to decline Mahom's option, I think an important point has been missed: It is likely that one can get comparable performance for substantially less than $9.75 million. Let's take a look at some existing contracts.
Chris Capuano has a base salary of $1.5 million with potential bonuses of $3.0 million. Jeff Francis has a base salary of $2.0 million and no bonus. Erik Bedard has a salary of $1.0 million and no bonus. Freddy Garcia has a salary of $1.5 million and no bonus. Bartolo Colon has a salary of $0.9 million and no bonus.
The $5 million per additional win is what's misleading. As Bill Barnwell points out, $5 million per incremental win is what incompetent management does. In 2010 the only teams spending $5 million per incremental win were the Cubs and Seattle. Need I say more? Paul Maholm is a perfectly capable pitcher, and I'd be happy to have him pitching for the Pirates next year. But not at a salary of $9.75 million. There are other uses for the money, and I think that's what's driving NH's decision.