• Latest Update: 4:45 pm EST: FOXSports.com's @Ken_Rosenthal: "Buerhle to #Marlins: 4 yrs, $58M"
(ed. note - "Hope the Nats had a Plan B.")
The Washington Nationals had an offer on the table for 32-year-old free agent left-hander Mark Buehrle before they traveled to Dallas, TX for the 2011 MLB Winter Meetings at the Hilton Anatole. MLB.com's Bill Ladson (@washingnats) wrote on the Twitter on Sunday night that he had confirmed that, "...the #Nats made an offer to LHP Mark Buehrle," though he noted that he was, "Not sure of the dollar figures." D.C. GM Mike Rizzo's description of Buehrle as, "...a 200-inning machine...who controls the running game, works fast," and would make a good role model for the Nats' young staff during a recent MLB Network Radio interview matched the profile of a pitcher he'd given to reporters earlier this Fall when he'd discussed what Washington was after.
The Nationals, according to the GM, were looking for a "... good leader type of guy that's thrown a lot of innings, that has shown that he can win in the big leagues and [can] really lead our staff... not just by having the best stuff on the staff but by showing how to be a professional and how to be a winner and how to pitch 200 innings in a season many, many times in your career."
The 32-year-old Buehrle, who'll turn 33 this March, threw 205.1 innings in 2011, topping 200.0 innings for the eleventh-straight season, and he finished his 12th year pitching for the White Sox with a 3.59 ERA, 3.98 FIP, 45 walks (1.97 BB/9) and 109 K's (4.78 K/9) in 31 starts and 205.1 IP over which he was worth +3.4 WAR. Buehrle's coming off a 4-year/$56 million dollar deal and is reportedly looking for another 4-year contract with a no-trade clause included. Recent reports said the Marlins were unwilling to give anyone a no-trade. The Nationals' GM, in an interview with the D.C. beat writers told reporters on Tuesday that after giving Jayson Werth a no-trade clause last winter, they would consider do it again for the right player.
Yesterday, Buehrle reportedly trimmed his list of potential destinations to five and reports this morning said he'd cut that list down to three teams earlier today. Shortly after those reports emerged, the word from MLB.com's Bill Ladson among others was that the Nats were one of the final three teams. The most recent reports say that it's getting close to decision time for the soon-to-be-former White Sox' lefty.
"Source: #Nationals, #Marlins finalists for Buehrle," FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) wrote within the last hour, "And if Marlins get C.J., that seemingly would leave Buehrle for Nats." The Texas Rangers were reportedly one of the finalists for Buehrle this winter, but Mr. Rosenthal's FOXSports.com colleague Jon Morosi (@JonMorosi) just reported that he'd talked to Rangers' officials and "Nolan Ryan just told me he expects CJ Wilson and Mark Buehrle to sign with someone other than #Rangers." USA Today baseball writer Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) too is reporting that, "Mark Buehrle could fall right into the #Nationals' laps if C.J. Wilson goes to #Marlins. Nationals badly want the #WhiteSox veteran."
The latest word from the Nationals, via the Nats beat writers in the Hilton Anatole is that the team made their offer and are waiting for Buehrle's decision. "Nats have made an offer to Buehrle that they feel is 'a legit, fair, market value offer" and they're hoping he accepts," Washington Times' writer Amanda Comak (@acomak) wrote recently on the Twitter. "Mike Rizzo made a 'legitimate, fair, market value' offer to Buehrle," Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) added, "Seems confident. "I feel good about it."
Did the Nats up their offer to four years? Apparently not. MASNSports.com's Pete Kerzel (@KerzelPete) just tweeted that he'd learned that, "#Nationals offer to Buehrle is three years, between $42-45 million." Did they give Buehrle the no-trade clause he wanted? Will the Miami Marlins make another splash and steal a starter away from their NL East rivals? It seems like we'll know sooner rather than later...