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.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.