Mark Buehrle Rumors
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?
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:
- The Blue Jays offered arbitration to Frank Francisco (B), Kelly Johnson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), Jose Molina (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter). They declined to offer Shawn Camp (B) arbitration.
- The Red Sox announced that they offered David Ortiz (A) and Dan Wheeler (B) arbitration. They declined to offer Jason Varitek (B) arbitration. Jonathan Papelbon (A) already signed with the Phillies.
- The Yankees offered Freddy Garcia (B) arbitration according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (on Twitter).
- The Royals offered Bruce Chen (B) arbitration, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- The White Sox announced they've offered arbitration to Mark Buehrle (B) and not Juan Pierre (B).
- The Athletics announced David DeJesus (B) and Josh Willingham (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) were offered arbitration.
- The Rangers announced C.J. Wilson (A) will be offered arbitration. Modified Type B free agent Darren Oliver does not require an offer.
- The Orioles announced they will not offer arbitration to Vladimir Guerrero (B).
- Twins GM Terry Ryan said today on a conference call that he will offer arbitration to Michael Cuddyer (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Jason Kubel (B), and noted that no arbitration offer is necessary for modified Type B free agent Matt Capps.
Teams with decisions still due:
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.
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."
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.
WEDNESDAY, 11:21am: Rizzo will meet with Buehrle's agent before the GM Meetings end, the GM told Kilgore.
MONDAY, 11:25pm: Nationals GM Mike Rizzo met for about 45 minutes tonight with Bob Garber, the agent for free agents C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt, writes Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post. Afterward, Garber wouldn't say much about the talks but did note that Rizzo expressed interest in both pitchers and the sides will keep talking as the offseason moves forward.
Garber characterized the talks as "preliminary" but noted that there's enough interest on both sides of the table for talks to continue. The Nats will also make a strong push for left-hander Mark Buerhle, a person familiar with the Nationals’ plans told Kilgore.
The Cubs have had multiple discussions with Mark Buehrle's agent Jeff Berry, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Berry also met with Marlins earlier today. Morosi sums up the other interested clubs: the White Sox, Blue Jays, Royals, Angels, Nationals, and Diamondbacks.
Earlier in November, we heard that the Cubs would have interest in the longtime White Sox pitcher "if the price tag and years aren't astronomical." Considering the number of Buehrle rumors we've heard so far this offseason, there appears to be plenty of competition, but we don't have a clear idea yet of the years and dollars the lefty might be offered.
Despite rumblings that reigning NL MVP Joey Votto could be available this offseason, Reds GM Walt Jocketty says the team will hold on to the first baseman, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter). Jocketty indicated that the Reds will try to lock Votto up to a long-term deal within the next year. Here are a few other items of note from Heyman's Twitter feed:
- The Reds are among the teams who have contacted the Braves to inquire on Jair Jurrjens.
- GM John Mozeliak said the Cardinals haven't met face-to-face with Albert Pujols since the season ended, but that they've touched base with Pujols and his agent, and plan to meet.
- The Mets think Jose Reyes will give them a chance to match his best offer before he signs anywhere, but know that he's not obligated to do so.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says if he were to pursue an impact first baseman like Pujols or Prince Fielder, he'd need to make a companion move to open up the position.
- The White Sox aren't closing the door on Mark Buehrle, but GM Ken Williams feels it'll be tough to fit him into their payroll.
Their names showed up on our list of non-tender candidates yesterday, but Angel Pagan and Mike Pelfrey will be tendered contracts by the Mets, reports Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter). The pair of Mets could earn more than $10MM between them in 2012, according to our projected arbitration salaries. Here are some other notes from the NL East:
- The Phillies are indicating Cole Hamels would cost "three small countries and two oceans" in a trade, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link). Considering what sort of package it would take to land Hamels, the southpaw likely isn't going anywhere.
- The Mets have a similarly high asking price for David Wright. GM Sandy Alderson says he'll only considering moving Wright "if someone blows us away," tweets Heyman. Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote earlier today that the Mets would definitely listen on Wright, but probably won't get an offer they like.
- Mark Buehrle's representatives and the Marlins are meeting today at the GM meetings in Milwaukee, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
- Yoenis Cespedes isn't the only Cuban outfielder to grab the Nationals' attention - Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes of the club's interest in 19-year-old Jorge Soler.
- Speaking of Cespedes, the Phillies worked out the 26-year-old in the Dominican Republic, with Pat Gillick in attendance, tweets Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
- Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com takes a look at which players the Nationals may protect in this year's Rule 5 draft.
White Sox GM Ken Williams sounded less-than-optimistic when addressing the possibility of Mark Buehrle's return to Chicago, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. The GM said that he is unsure if it is the free agent ace's "time to go" but seemed prepared for the veteran to move on and play elsewhere in 2012.
“What I will miss more than that is the person he is. And you guys know what I’m talking about. When you talk about teammates, good teammates, supportive teammates, guys who have fun in the game, know when to be serious, know when to check somebody but know when to make somebody laugh, this is the guy you want. There’s much more that we’re going to miss than just every fifth day from Mark," said Williams at a hotel restaurant at the general managers’ meetings.
Last week we learned that the Marlins extended an offer to Buehrle and earlier this evening it was reported that the Diamondbacks have interest in him as well. Last season, the 32-year-old posted a 3.59 ERA with 4.8 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 31 starts.
Williams also said that a trade of John Danks doesn’t seem imminent because he doesn’t think that he could get fair value for the left-hander.
“First of all, the climate for teams giving up young pitching hasn’t been sunny in a few years,” the GM said. “Secondly, it’s seems like every year, we all sit down and people are worried about the pitching.”