Mark Buehrle’s brilliant no-hitter last night still might not be enough to secure him a contract extension from the White Sox. Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune certainly expects him to hit the open market after this season.
For one night at least, he looked like the Buehrle of old. And the Buehrle of old is worth a truckload of money in the current market. Buster Olney believes he’s comparable to Barry Zito, and that the Mets and Red Sox could get involved.
Most folks think Buehrle will end up joining his hometown Cardinals, which could involve a small discount. But it’s still a complete unknown here in April. We don’t want to jump the gun – Buehrle had a fantastic April in 2006 (2.57 ERA, 0.89 WHIP). A typical Buehrle season – 230 innings, sub-4 ERA – would put him in line for the best long-term free agent contract for a starter. That assumes Carlos Zambrano signs.
There are a couple of guys who would make awesome mercenaries for 2008 – John Smoltz and Curt Schilling. Smoltz probably remains a Brave if the team comes in with a somewhat fair offer, but Schilling could spark a bidding war.