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Rangers, Nationals, Marlins Pursuing Mark Buehrle

December 5th, 2011 at 8:48 AM
By Ethan Simonds

The Texas Rangers are interested in left-handed starter Mark Buehrle, who pitched for the Chicago White Sox for the last 12 years. They will have competition from the free-spending Miami Marlins and the Washington Nationals, though, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.

In the report, Rosenthal said all three teams are also pursuing ex-Rangers lefty CJ Wilson, though he does command a bigger price tag and is looking for a long-term contract, as opposed to Buehrle, who will come several million dollars cheaper for up to three less years. Rosenthal writes:

"All three clubs also are pursuing free-agent lefty C.J. Wilson, but the Nats would prefer Buehrle on a shorter deal to Wilson on a longer one, sources said."

The Nationals make sense for Buehrle here. They've also talked with Roy Oswalt, but Buehrle would be a safer bet, albeit one with slightly less upside, and they, along with many other clubs, seemed wary of Wilson's asking price. Buehrle will probably be looking for money in the $12-13 million dollar range a year over two to three years, while Wilson wants closer to $20 million per year for six years.

The Rangers, especially, are hesitant to commit that kind of money to CJ, and seem content to fill out their rotation from within, although Buehrle is a much more reasonable option. He is a ground ball demon, which can't hurt at homer-friendly Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Still, their money might be better served elsewhere, especially as they try to hammer out a Josh Hamilton contact extension.

The Marlins have been the big-spenders of the free agency period to this point, already landing one of the premier prizes of the offseason in shortstop Jose Reyes and adding one of the league's best closers in ex-San Diego Padre Heath Bell. Even with those new contracts on the books, the perennially small-budgeted Marlins have still offered CJ Wilson a contract and plan on pursuing first basemen Albert Pujols, who has dreams of $30 million a year. Given all that frenetic spending, the Marlins probably won't have a lot of room for guys like Buehrle, especially if Wilson signs with them.

The Rangers seem dead-set on focusing on improving the bullpen and developing a starting rotation internally, so they will probably not end up with Buehrle. With the Marlins spending so recklessly, the Nationals are still the team that makes the most sense, especially given Rosenthal's report:

"Buehrle, 32, has spent his entire 12-year career with the White Sox, but is intrigued by the National League, sources said. He might thrive in the less offensively oriented NL, and one scout says it would be 'a good career move.'"

When all is said and done, the safest bet as to where Mark Buehrle will end up is probably in Nationals' red and grey. While adding another stabilizing arm to the rotation couldn't hurt the Rangers, their philosophy up to this point seems to suggest they are only kicking the tires.

Tags: Baseball, CJ Wilson, free agency, Mark Buehrle, Marlins, MLB, Nationals, Texas, Texas Rangers

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