Some general manager is about to make a critical mistake.
Last season Jon Garland had a tRA of 5.74, or 0.01 runs better than a replacement level starter's ERA (0.36 better tRA), over 196.7 innings pitched. That works out to about eight runs (non-leveraged), making Garland a 0.8 WAR pitcher, worth less than 4.4 million last season, and nearing 30 years old. Since 2003, Garland hasn't posted a single tRA* under 4.75, and only one tRA under 4.75, that came in 2006. Despite this, he finished sixth in the 2005 Cy Young voting, largely due to 18 wins.
It appears Garland is a 5 run pitcher at absolute best, and that's barely over replacement level. Anything more than 4.4 annually is overpaying for him, but the odds are he'll get double that this off-season, and possibly a deal similar to Kyle Lohse's 4/41. That's simply unacceptable for any team, even the Red Sox (who are smart enough to not even call) or the Yankees (who probably won't consider him.)
If you assume Garland is a 0.8 WAR pitcher in 2009, and slips to 0.3 in 2010, then perhaps -0.2 in 2011, you're looking at the makings of a 3 year 4.5 million dollar deal. If I had 4.5 million, I would bet he makes more than that in the first year of his new contract.
So, which team steps on this landmine?