About two years ago we heard that Mark Buehrle may consider retirement when his current contract expires after the 2011 season, something he reiterated that yesterday's SoxFest '11 according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin. The White Sox ace did leave the door open for a return though; allow me to quote...
"If I have a good year, and something happens and there's an opportunity out there to sign, I'm open for it," said Buehrle. "I talked with the wife about playing for a couple more years possibly, so we'll see. It's a long year, so if I decide to retire at the end, I'll retire. If not, I'll sign somewhere."
"If a deal gets done and talks are going on, it's between me and the team. That's where it ends at, and people don't need to know what's going on or the battling back and forth or the numbers involved. I just want to concentrate on playing baseball."
Buehrle will turn 32 towards the end of Spring Training and is still a highly effective starter. He's thrown no fewer than 201 innings in a single season since 2000, and he's pitched to a 3.84 ERA during that ten-year stretch. He'll earn $14MM in 2011 and looks to be the best free agent starter on the market next winter, barring some unexpected option decisions involving other players.