There are many ways to analyze a pitcher's worth in Major League Baseball.
Is he an ace of your staff? How many wins does he offer you? Is he a strikeout pitcher, or does he tend to throw more of a pitch-to-contact style?
It all boils down to what school of thought you subscribe to.
For me, a pitcher's worth can be determined by his salary in comparison to his ERA, WHIP, games played and innings pitched.
More so, how much does a team pay for each win said pitcher provides? How about per inning pitched? What is a strikeout worth?
With those basic principals in mind, here is a look at the 25 most overpaid pitchers in MLB during the 2012 season.
You'll notice that Mariano Rivera has an asterisk next to his name above.
There are a few reasons for that. First, this list focuses primarily on starting pitchers. However, Rivera did appear in nine games for the Yankees in 2012, which does give him some time served on the season.
While I won't break down his exact figures, it is worth mentioning that the New York Yankees paid him $15 million this season.
Of course, injuries happen. However, when the Yankees wrote a check for $15 million with Rivera's name on it, they thought they'd be getting a pitcher who would appear in 65 games and earn 40 or so saves for them.
The Pirates thought they were getting a pitcher to help send them to the playoffs for the first time since the 1992 season.
They didn't exactly get what they were looking for.
In 2012, Rodriguez earned $10.5 million with a 12-13 record. He owned a 3.76 ERA with a 1.269 WHIP while appearing in 34 games and putting in 205.2 innings.
Between the Astros and the Pirates, Rodriguez was paid $875,000 per win, $51,055 per inning pitched and a strikeout earned him $75,539.
Jon Lester is not too far removed from being considered one of the best southpaws in the game. The fact that he only made $7,625,000 in 2012 may seem as though I'm nitpicking pitcher salaries.
Consider this, though: He was supposed to be the "ace" of the staff, one that fans should declare as underpaid. In 2012, he only owned a 9-14 record with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.282 WHIP in 33 games for Boston.
Does that sound like ace material to you?
Whats more, in his 205.1 innings of work, Lester earned $847,222 per win, $37,176 per inning pitched and $45,934 per strikeout.
The Washington Nationals had the best pitching staff in baseball in 2012.
They signed Edwin Jackson to a one-year-deal in hopes to get the best of him in a contract year. What they got was just OK.
He posted a 10-11 record with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.218 WHIP in 31 games and 189.2 innings.
His deal was for $10,957,715.
That means the Nats paid $1,095,771 per win, $57,775 per inning pitched and $65,224 per strikeout.
Joe Blanton saw his season start on the East Coast as a member of the highly regarded Philadelphia Phillies pitching staff.
The Phillies season faltered, and Blanton found himself traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
On the season, he owned a 10-13 record with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.262 WHIP in 31 games and 191 innings.
All things considered, that doesn't sound like a terrible stat line; however, Blanton was a fourth/fifth starter and earned $10,500,000 in 2012.
That means he was paid $1,050,000 per win, $54,973 per inning pitched and $64,417 per strikeout.
You're probably wondering how a pitcher that made just $4,500,000 in 2012 can be overpaid, right?
Well, Erik Bedard found a way.
In 24 games for the Pirates, Bedard went 7-14 with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.472 WHIP through 125.2 innings.
That equates to $642,857 per win, $35,811 per inning pitched and $38,135 per strikeout.
Brought to Chicago at the trade deadline, Francisco Liriano was brought in as a veteran presence to help bolster the White Sox pitching staff for the playoff push.
As we know, that didn't quite happen.
What did happen in 2012 was simple: Liriano was paid $5,500,000 between the Twins and White Sox to own a 6-12 record on the season with a 5.34 ERA and 1.468 WHIP in 34 games and just 156.2 innings.
That equates to $916,667 per win, $35,108 per inning and $32,934 per strikeout.
Ricky Romero was thought to be the ace of this young Toronto Blue Jays pitching staff in 2012.
Perhaps the title or pressure got to him, but he was certainly not ace material.
Despite earning $5,250,000, he only posted a record of 9-14 with a 5.77 ERA and a 1.674 WHIP through 32 games and 181 innings pitched.
That equates to $583,333 per win, $29,005 per inning pitched and $42,339 per strikeout.
Jeremy Guthrie went from pitching extremely poor for the Colorado Rockies to start the 2012 season and found his way to Kansas City.
There, he appeared to settle down some, but not enough to be absolved of this list.
In 33 games, Guthrie went 8-12 with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.409 WHIP through 181.2 innings.
Monetarily, that worked out to $1,025,000 per win, $45,221 per inning pitched and $81,188 per strikeout.
In what could have been a spectacular year for Dan Haren, surrounded by exceptional pitching talent, Haren just didn't live up to expectations.
While earning $12,750,000 this season, he posted a record of 12-13 with a 4.33 and a 1.024 WHIP through 30 games and 176.2 innings.
That worked out to $1,062,500 per win, $72,172 per inning pitched and $89,788 per strikeout.
Was he terrible? Certainly not. However, the Angels obviously felt compelled to move on from him and are supposedly not going to pick up his 2013 team option.
Ryan Dempster's name was thrown around all over the place in hot trade rumors this summer. He was being sold as the hot commodity to acquire.
Unfortunately, he was an overpaid commodity.
While yes, he did own a winning record of 12-6 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.197 WHIP in 28 games and 173 innings, he was paid handsomely to provide said statistics.
His $14,000 salary resulted in $1,166,666 per win, $80,925 per inning pitched and $91,503 per strikeout.
Jake Peavy was a solid pitcher for the White Sox in 2012; however, he didn't exactly earn the $17,000,000 in which he was compensated.
Peavy posted a record of 11-12 with a 3.37 ERA and a 1.096 WHIP though 32 games and 219 innings.
That equated to $1,545,454 per win, $77,625 per inning pitched and $87,628 per strikeout.
The concerning figure should be the $1.5 million per win with a losing record. It is an otherwise steep price to pay per victory.
Nick Blackburn appeared in just 19 games for the Minnesota Twins in 2012.
While he only earned a salary of $4,750,000, his 4-9 record with a 7.39 ERA and a 1.713 WHIP suggests that his pay should have been considerably less.
He only pitched 98.2 innings for the Twins before being sent down to the farm.
That means the team paid him $1,187,500 per win, $48,371 per inning pitched and $113,095 per strikeout.
Josh Johnson is another case of a pitcher who should be considered the ace of his staff, but his performance in 2012 left a less-than-favorable taste in the mouth of fans.
He posted an 8-14 record with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.280 WHIP through 31 games and 191 innings.
His salary was $13,750,000.
That translates into a cool $1,718,750 per victory, $71,865 per inning pitched and $83,333 per strikeout.
Another Angel makes the list.
Ervin Santana was projected to be the fifth starter on a fully loaded Anaheim Angels pitching staff, so it is hard to think the man was overpaid.
However, he did earn $11,200,000 in 2012 while posting a record of just 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA and a 1.270 WHIP through 30 games and 178 innings.
That equates to $1,244,444 per victory, $62,921 per inning pitched and $84,210 per strikeout... as a fifth starter... just to reiterate the point.
It's hard to imagine Cliff Lee being considered "overpaid" considering the type of pitcher he is, but in 2012, he certainly was just that.
While earning $21,500,000, he posted a record of 6-9 with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.114 WHIP through 30 games and 211 innings.
That translates to $3,583,333 per victory, $101,896 per inning pitched and $103,865 per strikeout.
Barry Zito had a remarkable bounce-back season in 2012.
Was it worthy of $19,000,000? I have a hard time saying that it was.
He went 15-8 with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.389 WHIP through 32 games and 184.1 innings for the San Francisco Giants this season.
That translated to $1,266,667 per win, $103,076 per inning pitched and $166,667 per strikeout.
Josh Beckett is a lightning rod for criticism after being a part of the 2011 Boston Red Sox chicken and beer crew to being a significant disappointment in 2012.
He earned $17,000,000 in 2012: ace money.
However, he posted a 7-14 record with a 4.65 ERA and 1.327 WHIP through 28 games and 170.1 innings between the Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.
That equates to one of the higher cash per victory totals on this list: $2,428,571 while earning $99,806 per inning pitched and $128,788 per strikeout.
Prior to this season, anyone who put Roy Halladay on this type of list may have been considered somewhat absurd.
The problem is, he was paid $20,000,000 to be the ace of the Phillies staff to post a mere 11-8 record with a 4.49 ERA and a 1.222 WHIP through 25 games and 156.1 innings.
A very un-Halladay like stat line.
That resulted in $1,818,182 per victory, $127,935 per inning pitched and $151,515 per strikeout.
Tim Lincecum led Major League Baseball in losses in 2012 while earning $18,250,000.
He posted a 10-15 record with a 5.18 ERA and a 1.468 WHIP through 33 games and 186 innings. Clearly, these are numbers not reminiscent of the two-time Cy Young seasons Lincecum fans are more familiar with.
That translated into $1,825,000 per victory, $98,118 per inning pitched and $96,052 per strikeout.
He may be invaluable during the postseason, but his regular season performance is the main reason why he is coming out of the bullpen and not starting right now.
Derek Lowe started his season in Cleveland and wound up in New York as a member of the Yankees.
He posted a record of 9-11 with a 5.11 ERA and a 1.619 WHIP through 38 games and 142.2 innings pitched.
Lowe earned $15,000,000 in 2012 for his efforts.
That resulted in $1,666,667 per victory, $105,145 per inning pitched and $272,727 per strikeout, the highest strikeout payout of any pitcher on this list.
The idea behind the Miami Marlins bringing Carlos Zambrano on board was to (hopefully) get better results from a change of scenery.
Perhaps he had grown weary of Chicago? The theory sounded great. Zambrano carried a huge price tag with him to Miami, a cool $19,000,000 this season.
He posted a 7-10 record with a 4.49 ERA and a 1.496 WHIP in 35 games and 132.1 innings for the Marlins.
That earned Big Z $2,714,286 per win, $143,580 per inning pitched and $200,000 per strikeout.
Are you surprised to see the highest-paid pitcher in Major League Baseball only sitting at the third spot?
There is no doubt Johan Santana is overpaid. He earned $23,145,011 in 2012 for the New York Mets while posting a record of 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA and a 1.333 WHIP in 21 games and 117 innings.
That earned Santana $3,857,502 per win, $197,821 per inning pitched and $208,514 per strikeout.
Hard to believe there are two more overpaid pitchers in 2012?
As I said in the beginning of this slideshow, it is all about perspective and what school of thought you subscribe to when it comes to the term "overpaid."
In 2012, Daisuke Matsuzaka was paid $10,333,333 to pitch for the Boston Red Sox.
He posted a 1-7 record with a 8.28 ERA and a 1.708 WHIP in 11 games and 45.2 innings.
That translates into $10,333,333 per victory, $228,613 per inning pitched and $252,032 per strikeout.
The Colorado Rockies shelled out $10,500,000 for Jorge De La Rosa this season.
Unfortunately for them, he only managed to pitch in three games, posting a 0-2 record with a 9.28 ERA and a 1.781 WHIP through just 10.2 innings of work.
That means he earned $10.5 million to lose two games for the Rockies while earning $984,990 per inning pitched and $1,750,000 per strikeout.