Pirates will decline $9.75 million 2012 option on Paul Maholm

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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.

Video: With friends and family present, Brandon Nimmo hits inside-the-park homer at Coors Field

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The Mets opened up a four-game series against the Rockies at Coors Field on Monday night, the last leg of their 10-game road trip. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who grew up in nearby Wyoming, got his first start in Colorado, so he bought about 75 tickets for friends and family for the series, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Batting leadoff, Nimmo fittingly led off the game by hitting an inside-the-park home run, drilling an 0-2 cutter from Tyler Anderson to right-center field. The ball didn’t take the carom that right fielder Carlos Gonzalez expected, so Nimmo circled the bases easily to complete his 11th home run of the season.

The 25-year-old Nimmo has proven to be a spark plug for the underachieving Mets. Entering play Monday, he was batting .274/.402/.565 in 204 plate appearances. Nimmo hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday, helping the Mets overcome the Diamondbacks.