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Mark Buehrle is considering the Nationals, along with four other teams.
DALLAS -- Though the Mark Buehrle sweepstakes is moving toward a resolution -- he has narrowed his search down to three clubs, according to a source familiar with the talks -- the veteran left-hander may not be able to make his final decision until other top free agents have made theirs.
If general manager Mike Rizzo had his way, the Nationals would lock up the 32-year-old hurler right now.
But some of Buehrle's other pursuers are currently negotiating with other players and may not know if they're still interested in signing the pitcher until they've settled those other negotiations.
The Marlins, for example, have expressed strong interest in Buehrle. But if they win the Albert Pujols lottery, they're not going to have enough money left to land a pricey starting pitcher.
At this moment, Pujols is still deciding between staying in St. Louis or leaving for Miami. Until the slugger makes that decision, Buehrle won't know whether the Marlins are still in the mix for him. But if Pujols sticks with the Cardinals, the Marlins are expected to make an immediate push for Buehrle, according to the Miami Herald.
The Rangers, meanwhile, are also believed to be among the finalists for Buehrle. But the two-time defending AL champs also have interest in retaining fellow lefty C.J. Wilson ... if his price tag doesn't skyrocket too high.
The market for Wilson hasn't materialized the way agent Bob Garber hoped, so Texas might feel like it has a chance to re-sign its ace for four or five years, a move GM Jon Daniels might find preferential to a Buehrle deal.
Suffice it to say, there are multiple balls in the air right now. And until these other clubs decide which one to grab, the Nationals may have to wait to get an answer from Buehrle.