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Pirates will decline $9.75 million 2012 option on Paul Maholm

Oct 12, 2011, 4:46 PM EDT

Paul Maholm Getty Images

Paul Maholm can be added to the list of free agent starting pitchers, as the Pirates have decided not to exercise their $9.75 million team option on the left-hander for 2012 and will give him a $750,000 buyout instead.

“I’m going to test free agency and see where it goes,” Maholm told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

It likely wasn’t a tough decision for the Pirates, as Maholm has failed to develop into more than a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter and at age 29 won’t get anywhere near $9.75 million per season on the open market.

He posted a nice-looking 3.66 ERA this season, but it came with a mediocre 97/50 K/BB ratio and he was limited to just 162 innings. Maholm has a 4.36 career ERA, but has cracked 200 innings just once in six full seasons. He’ll make a nice third or fourth starter somewhere, probably for a multi-year deal worth less than $9.75 million combined.

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