With the Chicago Cubs making organizational changes across the board, baseball fans in Chicago most likely have their eyes fixed to the north side. This fact coupled with the Chicago Bears pulling out a solid victory on Monday Night Football and it can be pretty certain that news surrounding the White Sox most likely went unnoticed.
However, us White Sox fans have reason to pay attention.
Everyone’s favorite soft spoken southpaw Mark Buehrle met with the Florida Marlins earlier this week to discuss the possibility of a change of scenery. The Marlin’s new manager Ozzie Guillen may be using his friendship and familiarity with Buehrle to aid his pitch, but as of right now, this only looks to be a preliminary meeting. Buehrle is in free agency for the first time in his career and even though these kind of meetings are routine, it reminds us that there is the chance that he won’t return to Chicago.
Another day at the office
I believe I speak for most White Sox fans when I say that it would be ideal for Buehrle to return with a two or three year contract. Despite the White Sox having a decent prospective five man rotation for next year, Buehrle’s consistency and experience cannot be understated. So much of next year’s success rests on starter Jake Peavy getting his act together and falling into a rhythm, along with young hurlers like Chris Sale stepping up to the occasion. If that doesn’t happen, Buerhle’s presence may be required to simply remain in contention.
Hopefully, 2012 will be just like every year for the last ten years. Every fifth game, Buehrle will come out to pitch. Using his pinpoint precision, he’ll get a lot of ground balls, pitch deep into games, and generally give up three runs or less. Sports media doesn’t give him the same amount of hype as other ace pitchers such as Justin Verlander or C.C. Sebathia because he doesn’t strike anyone out, but his stats speak for themselves.
Buehrle has gone 11 seasons in a row with at least 200 innings pitched. He also has double-digit victories with at least 30 starts in each of those seasons. Having pitched a perfect game and a no-hitter in addition to starting – and saving – World Series games, he has earned the respect of fans in Chicago.
However, Buerhle has always been outspoken about his desire to someday play in the National League, particularly in St. Louis which is his hometown. He also expressed that he would enjoy the challenge of facing an entirely new pool of batters. If he somehow finds his way back to Chicago, he’ll be facing the same opponents he has been for the last ten years.
While the recent meeting with the Marlins is a sign of things to come, White Sox fans shouldn’t start to get too anxious just yet. Even though there is a better chance of Buehrle winding up in the National League, there is still a hope that he will find a spot in the White Sox organization and continue having stellar seasons.
Even though Buehrle isn’t necessarily the type of player to hold out for the big money, it can be sure that certain teams are bound to make a play for his services. The only thing fans can do is sit, wait, and hope that Buehrle continues to be under-appreciated by the rest of the league. That way, he can return to Chicago, which is where he is wanted the most and where he belongs.