Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle turned down a contract extension worth around $33MM over three years last July. Buehrle was quoted as having no regrets, but you have to wonder. Would he take the same deal if the Sox offered it now? Would the Sox still offer it after a 6.44 second half ERA?
Buehrle’s strikeout rate dipped to a dangerously low 4.32 per nine in ’06. But the confusing part is that his two worst strikeout rate months were his two best ERA months (April and May). He was pretty lucky those two months – in April he allowed fewer than 7 hits per nine, and in May he managed a 3.18 ERA with a very high 1.54 WHIP.
June was more Buehrleish – 3.89 ERA, nothing terrible flukey about his peripheral stats. The wheels really came off in July, as he reeled off five consecutive poor starts. He was bombed by the Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers, and Twins for an 11.48 ERA. Hits and HRs allowed went through the roof.
Buehrle recovered to post a 4.34 ERA in August with normal peripherals, but two of his six starts came against the Royals. He was battered around again in September, despite two good efforts against lousy offenses again.
After such a complete collapse, can anything be salvaged for Buehrle? Can he keep his ERA under five this season and then return to prominence with the Cardinals? PECOTA calls for 4.83, ZiPS for 4.36, and RotoAuthority for 4.39. PECOTA would still give Buehrle an Adam Eaton-type contract.