UPDATE: Kenny Williams spoke to the press tonight; the White Sox have offered Buehrle no-trade protection except for an 18-month span. It seems likely that the two sides reach an agreement.
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times believes tonight could be Mark Buehrle’s last start as a member of the White Sox. His teammates have been collecting memorabilia, and extra support is expected tonight at U.S. Cellular. Hard to believe that this thing died over a no-trade clause. Perhaps Buehrle wanted a full and the Sox would only give a partial. But how can they justify passing on a well below-market commitment of 4/54? The Sox are definitely built to win in 2008. Everyone Buster Olney talked to is stunned as well.
Dylan Hernandez and Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times reported this morning on discussions between the Dodgers and White Sox about Buehrle. The Sox want outfielder Matt Kemp in a trade. They may even be asking for more, perhaps Chad Billingsley or Jonathan Broxton. We know that Kenny Williams’ starting point was each team’s two best prospects. If the clubs ultimately settle on Kemp for Buehrle straight up – something the Dodgers hope to avoid – Williams will have done well. He needs an outfielder he can build around. The L.A. Daily News, however, says no deal is close and the Dodgers haven’t even talked to the White Sox since before extension negotiations died.
Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune believes the Mets, Braves, Red Sox, Brewers, and Dodgers will all now increase their interest in Buehrle. And Lance Berkman of the Astros is now campaigning for him too. Cowley mentions in his article that the Mets’ interest is now heating up. And if you’re wondering what the Mariners might be able to offer, check out Dave Cameron’s take.
One long shot possibility: this is all just a noise by the White Sox and they’ll make an extension announcement before Buehrle takes the mound. That’s the scenario Sox fans are hoping for at this point.