Though some reports have indicated that left-hander Mark Buehrle may very well call it quits after the 2015 season, the veteran innings eater tells ESPN Chicago’s Doug Padilla that he hasn’t made any decision one way or the other. If anything, Buehrle implied that he could very well suit up for a 17th big league season, as he told Padilla that he’ll listen to offers this winter.
The 36-year-old Buehrle saw his incredible streak of 200-inning seasons come to a close this year, as he finished the year at 198 2/3 innings, denying him 15th consecutive year with 200 or more innings. Though his amazing streak came to an end, Buehrle nonetheless had a quality year on the mound, pitching to a 3.81 ERA with 4.1 K/9, a league-leading 1.5 BB/9 and a solid 45.9 percent ground-ball rate. Buehrle admitted to Padilla that he was indeed bothered by shoulder problems this season. He received a cortisone shot late in the season, though he also said he’d welcome the opportunity to be added to Toronto’s postseason roster and compete once again. Shoulder problems are nothing new, Buehrle said, noting that he’s worked through shoulder pain for much of his career.
One thing Buehrle said he won’t be doing is signing a minor league deal, though I can’t imagine a scenario in which multiple teams aren’t interested in Buehrle on at least a one-year Major League deal. Buehrle will technically be eligible for a qualifying offer, though given his age and shoulder problems late in the year, the Blue Jays probably won’t be keen on risking a $15.8MM price tag on him in order to collect a compensatory draft pick.
Padilla notes that it’s not in Buehrle’s nature to make a flashy departure from the league when he finally does decide to hang it up. Somewhat playfully referring to his status as a former 38th-round draft pick, Buehrle told Padilla, “I snuck into this league, and I’m going to sneak out.”