Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nats like chances of landing Buehrle

US Presswire photo
Mark Buehrle is seeking a three- or four-year deal with a no-trade clause.
DALLAS -- Mark Buehrle has narrowed his list of potential employers down to five clubs, and the Nationals remain among the lead contenders to land the free agent left-hander.

Though he hadn't been contacted by Buehrle's representatives as of this afternoon, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has been given indications his team has as good a shot at landing the 32-year-old as any others still in the mix and that a decision should be coming in the near future.

"From my meeting with him, I don't think he wants this to be a long, drawn-out process," Rizzo said. "I think he wants to get comfortable with a team, be treated fairly, make a decision and get on with the offseason and his preparation for spring training."

Buehrle has been the Nationals' top pitching target since the offseason began, so much so that Rizzo and other members of the front office flew to St. Louis last month to meet with the pitcher and his family at their home. That face-to-face recruiting session, Rizzo believes, left the Nationals in an advantageous position.

"There was a connection there," the GM said. "I went in there and really gave him a presentation of what we're all about, what we're trying to do now and what we're trying to do in the future, what part does he play in it. ... I thought at the beginning there was a lot of interest. And when we left, there was a great interest in the Washington Nationals."

The Nationals appear to be joined by the Rangers and Marlins as finalists for Buehrle. The other two teams aren't yet known, but the Twins did make him a formal offer this week. The White Sox, Buehrle's lone employer since he was drafted in 1998, believe they are no longer in the mix.

Terms of any offers made to Buehrle so far haven't come out, but he's expected to command at least a three-year contract worth in excess of $40 million, possibly a four-year deal. Buehrle also has made it known he wants a full no-trade clause, something the Nationals gave to Jayson Werth last year and are willing to do again "for the right player and the right fit," Rizzo said this week.

Marlins president David Samson told reporters today he won't budge on his policy of refusing to give no-trade clauses to free agents, which could hinder their ability to land Buehrle.

Buehrle, who has pitched at least 200 innings and won at least 10 games each of the last 11 seasons with Chicago, is perhaps the most sought-after starter on the market this winter. In years past, it was difficult for the Nationals to sell such players on the idea of coming to Washington.

Now, on the heels of an 80-win season and the promise of more progress in the immediate future with Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper leading the way, it's becoming easier to convince top-tier players to consider the Nationals.

"We're beyond the point where we apologize for not being very good and for rebuilding," Rizzo said. "I think we're a solid team. We have a chance to compete, and we get that point across. ... It's an easier presentation to put together, I know that. It's much more to the point of: Here we are, here's how we're going to win and here's what you're going to do to help us get there. We can base that on facts and names, and not just concepts and philosophies."


jd said...

I think 3 years at more than $13 mil per is overpaying for Buehrle. At best he will get the team 2 more wins a year more than the player he is replacing and at worst he will take up a sport which could be better in the hands of someone like Brad Peacock.

I like the player a lot but at these prices. I still feel that Fielder at 6 or 7 games WAR is the better bang for the buck

MicheleS said...

Tim K of ESPN said Buerhle will get 4the years and doesn't think the Nats will give it to him.

MicheleS said...

"4th" not 4the.. stupid auto correct!

Gonat said...

jd, come on, these guys aren't saving lives, they are all overpaid. Its a thin free agent market with simple economics of price goes up when supply is low.

Gonat said...

MicheleS, that's interesting and hope TimKurj is wrong. If Buehrle wants 4 years then essentially you are into about CJ Wilson type of demands and can go to 5 years w/ CJ as he is younger.

Soul Possession, PFB Sofa said...

Whoever gets him will overpay--that's the whole point of free agency. You pay for they did already, not what they *will* do. Maybe they'll stay good and maybe they won't, but you're paying for the back of his card. That said, I would take a four-year shot at $44MM, on the chance he'll stay at least as good as he has been for three of them.

He won't block anybody. Starting pitchers are never blocked. Every team needs more than five over the course of a season.

Soul Possession, PFB Sofa said...

Rizzo has a calendar/budget for the next several years. It's 2015-2016 when things start to get expensive around here, so he can go four for Buehrle, but not four for Wilson.

Soul Possession, PFB Sofa said...

whoops, make that *not SIX for Wilson

Anonymous said...

no need for a 4th year. overpay for three years and he could get another 3 year deal later. if he gets a four year deal now he's just as likely to make much less on his final deal. nats will hold his value. we're not the where players go to die anymore. good players will come and go now.


Just wonderin' said...

"There was a connection there," the GM said.

Didn't Bush (the lesser) say something similar about Vladimir Putin after their first meeting? And how did that work out?

Soul Possession, PFB Sofa said...

longterm, it's a good point--if you're going to give him $40,000,000, why should the player want to be obligated for an extra year? The money is often structured so it isn't paid out in the actual year, so $40MM over four years for three years of service (maybe throw in a mutual option if you can) should do.

As for Rizzo seeing into his soul, I wonder, seriously, do they get profilers to help them with making that pitch to free agents? If you want to close a deal, you have to know what the other side values. Maybe they do, but somehow I'm inclined to doubt it. Anybody know for a fact?

WillieHarrisUnderpants said...

"We can base that on facts and names, and not just concepts and philosophies."

This is how you slap Stan Kasten in the face in public and get away with it.

BinM said...

If Buerhle would accept a 3-yr, $39-42M contract with a 4th year vested option ($15M/3M buyout), I think Rizzo should accept the no-trade option & get the deal signed. A 2012 rotation of JZimm / Strasburg / Buerhle / Wang / Lannan, with Detwiler or Gorzelanny[LHLR], Stammen [RHLR], Milone[SYR] & Peacock[SYR] available in the wings could be solid.

That would clear the 1st hurdle & allow him to focus on acquiring a CF & building a bench.

BinM said...

@longterm - In past years, the Nationals were'nt where players came to die; It's where zombie players came to earn a final paycheck.

jd said...

Gonat and others

You are missing my point. The point is that you are not getting enough for the money with Buehrle if you have to pay him $40 mil + for 3 years. I am not against spending money I just want a better return for the money.

Anonymous said...

If they sign Buerhle Lannan is gone. That's a fact folks here are going to have to accept. Johnson favors Detwiler. They've got Milone ready to rock and roll. Gorzelanny ini long relief. Sollis, Rosenbaum, and Matt Purke likely coming up fast.

And no Lannan did not beat the stats. Stats won't lie or exaggerate. Lannan was the worst pitcher in the rotation. Worse even than Livo who is on his last legs. If Lannan was so good as a #3 starter why are they going so strong for Buerhle? He would slide into the exact same slot.

Accept the truth.

LoveDaNats said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

This is such a better move for "the staff" than CJ... we all know how great Livan was for us... this is our new Livan, minus those incredible curve balls that even I thought i could hit!! hope we get it done!!


PS... i do miss Livan already...

Joe Seamhead said...

Mark Bueuhle would be my first choice, if we make any deal at all. Roy O. would be my second choice, but for only one year, with an option for a second year. CJ Wilson for six years? Walk away from that.

Anonymous said...

I would go all in for Buehrle. I'd give him 4 years and blow everyone else away. Remember, blowing everyone away for Buehre is chump change compared to blowing everyone away for someone like Prince and he would be a huge piece. I'd be willing to go 4 and $48MM if that's what I had to do. You add your starter..avoid the years and money Wilson would make. And your rotation is set.

Plus, no one is blocked. Give Peacock and Milone another year at AAA. Put Det in the pen. All three will get chances this year given innings limits. Lannan or Detwiler are also now trade chips. I'd keep Peacock.

Future years, Wang probably isn't re-signed. So, one of the three young guys slides in then.

Point is for such a key piece, Buehrle is relatively cheap even at a perceived overpay.

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