Mark Buehrle Rumors

Heyman On Buehrle, Garza, Reyes, Posada, Bell

Heath Bell isn’t close to signing, despite last night’s rumors, but it’s not for lack of interest. Here’s the latest on Bell and a handful of other free agents, via Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter links):


Marlins Rumors: Wilson, Reyes, Buehrle, Balaguer

Here are some links from Miami, on the day that Robb Nen celebrates his 43rd birthday. Nen still holds the Marlins' franchise record with 108 saves…

  • "They rolled out the red carpet. They seem to have a plan and made it very clear they'd like [C.J. Wilson] to be a part of it," said Bob Garber, Wilson's agent, to Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post. The Marlins hosted the lefty at their new ballpark today. Garber wouldn't say if the team made an offer, but did say his client will "probably" make a decision during the winter meetings next week.
  • The sentiment is that Albert Pujols will return to the Cardinals, but Capozzi says the Marlins still hope to sign Jose Reyes and either Wilson or Mark Buehrle. It's also possible they'll try to add both starters.
  • The Marlins have interest in 18-year-old Cuban outfielder Yasiel Balaguer, reports Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald (on Twitter). They will scout him this Wednesday in the Dominican Republic. Last year we heard about his "explosive speed and throwing arm."

Tigers Inquire On Mark Buehrle

The Tigers' rotation hasn't been considered a major concern, with Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, and Rick Porcello under team control through at least 2014 and top prospect Jacob Turner waiting in the wings.  However, they're one of the many clubs inquiring on free agent lefty Mark Buehrle, reports Lynn Henning of the Detroit News.

The Tigers are familiar with Buehrle, since he made 34 career starts against them as a member of the White Sox.  In Henning's opinion, signing him would allow the Tigers to use  young pitching as trade bait.  The number of reported Buehrle suitors reaches 14 if you include the Tigers, though the White Sox and Cardinals were part of that Jim Bowden tweet and those clubs are not considered likely.

Elsewhere on the free agent front, Henning says the Tigers have been following Yoenis Cespedes for years.  Tigers vice president and director of amateur scouting David Chadd admits Cespdes is a "five-tool player."  In a more speculative sense, Henning thinks Kelly Johnson and Octavio Dotel may be Tigers targets.  The Tigers are known to have spoken with Aramis Ramirez's agent this month.



Marlins To Host Wilson On Monday

The Marlins will attempt to woo C.J. Wilson with a South Florida visit and stadium tour on Monday, writes Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.  Rodriguez writes that the Marlins are likely to put a bid in for Wilson considering that pitching is their top priority and the winter meetings are just around the corner.

Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Albert Pujols have already visited Miami and each free agent received an offer from the club.  Prince Fielder is about the only high-end free agent that the Marlins haven't hosted and nothing is scheduled yet, which may or may not speak to their interest level.

Buehrle got to check out the Marlins' new park well before Wilson, but that doesn't mean that Buehrle is higher on the club's board.  A source who spoke with a Marlins official in the early stages of the free agency period said he believed Miami preferred Wilson.


White Sox Underestimated Market For Buehrle

On Wednesday, the White Sox offered arbitration to Type B free agent Mark Buehrle, guaranteeing themselves compensation if he signs elsewhere.  Interest in the left-hander has skyrocketed this winter, with as many as thirteen teams reportedly in the mix for his services.  The White Sox weren't expecting this level of interest for Buehrle as they anticipated five or six teams going after him and a two-year deal being enough to retain him, a source tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago-Sun Times.

With this amount of interest in Buehrle and the Nationals visiting the pitcher at his home in St. Louis this week, it would seem that the White Sox will have to act fast and offer a longer deal to retain him.  Earlier today, nearly 20% of MLBTR readers voted Buerhle as the next big free agent to sign.


Poll: Next Big Name Free Agent To Sign

Two big name free agents came off the board within the first three weeks of the offseason, as CC Sabathia signed an extension with the Yankees and Jonathan Papelbon joined the Phillies. The two power-hitting first baseman are still on the market (Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder), as are the high-end shortstops (Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes) and left-handed starters (Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson). Looking for pure offense? There’s also Carlos Beltran and David Ortiz.

The Thanksgiving weekend has traditionally been a slow few days for the baseball hot stove, but think of it as the calm before the storm. The winter meetings are just over a week away, and clubs want to start patching the major holes on their rosters before the calendar flips to January. A full list of unsigned free agents can be found with our Free Agent Tracker, but only a select few qualify as big names. Which of those guys do you think will be the next to sign?



American League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day in advance of the 11pm central time deadline.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here

Updated team decisions:

Teams with decisions still due:


Nationals Visiting Buehrle At His Home Today

Nationals officials including GM Mike Rizzo are visiting free agent lefty Mark Buehrle and his agents at his home in St. Louis today, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.  Kilgore says Buehrle is the team's top free agent choice.  Roy Oswalt seems to be Plan B.  The Nationals met with the agents for both pitchers at last week's GM Meetings.

Rizzo is looking for a horse, and the 32-year-old Buehrle fits the bill with 11 consecutive seasons of 201+ innings.  As I noted in October, the Nationals have front-end rotation talent in Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann, but neither is likely to be an innings-eater in 2012.

Aside from the Nationals, the Marlins, Cubs, Twins, Rangers, Yankees, Royals, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, and Angels reportedly have interest in Buehrle.


Ozzie: Marlins “Dead Serious” About Contract Offers

Many people around the industry are skeptical about whether the Marlins are sincere about their intent to go all-in on free agents this offseason, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, manager Ozzie Guillen wants to assure any doubters that the Marlins are "dead serious" about making a splash.

“This is for real,” Guillen told Rosenthal. “I don’t think this is a marketing thing. This is what [the Marlins] want. They’re trying to improve as quickly as they can…. It’s not to show, ‘We’re trying, but we’re not going to do anything.’”

Rosenthal confirms yesterday's report that the Marlins offered Albert Pujols a nine-year contract. While he's not sure about the dollar amount, he hears it's "substantial." Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reported this afternoon that the total amount of the offer is under $200MM.

The Marlins have also extended formal offers to Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Ryan Madson, according to Rosenthal. Considering how many players the Marlins are pursuing, the team is prepared to increase its payroll significantly for 2012. According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter link), club president David Samson said today that he doesn't expect player salaries to exceed $100MM next season, but "you never know."


Thirteen Teams In On Mark Buehrle

11 teams are playing on Mark Buehrle, tweets Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM and ESPN.com: the Nationals, White Sox, Cubs, Marlins, Twins, Rangers, Yankees, Royals, Cardinals, Red Sox, and Diamondbacks.  These suitors have all been confirmed by club sources, according to Bowden.  The Blue Jays and Angels were named by Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports yesterday, potentially bringing the total to 13.  From Bowden's list, I believe the Twins, Cardinals, and Red Sox are new suitors.  Cards GM John Mozeliak said yesterday he is not seeking to alter the team's rotation, however.