Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Buehrle goes to Marlins for four years, $58M

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DALLAS -- Mark Buehrle's storied White Sox career officially came to an end on Wednesday when the free-agent left-hander agreed to a reported four-year, $58 million contract with the Miami Marlins.

The deal reunites the popular and remarkably consistent 32-year-old with Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, whose new team introduced shortstop Jose Reyes on Wednesday. The Marlins, easily the biggest players in this year's free-agent market, also signed Heath Bell.

"If that happened, I'm very happy to have this kid,'' said Guillen, who received the news during a media interview session at the winter meetings.

Guillen pumped his fist when the session was over.

"That means we're showing people they want to play for us, for me," Guillen said.

The White Sox, who are looking to cut payroll, had been pessimistic all along about their chances of signing Buehrle, who pitched a no-hitter, perfect game and helped the Sox win a World Series in 2005.

"Like I said, he will be missed,'' Williams said Wednesday. "I just told the Marlins owner he has one great pitcher but a better person. I'm happy for [Buehrle] but we have to move forward. I wish he and the Marlins well.''

Buehrle had hinted at possibly retiring after his Sox deal ran out, then proved he can still pitch with a run of 18 consecutive starts allowing three or fewer runs this past season, when he reached the 30-start plateau with 200 innings and double-digit wins for a 12th straight year.

Buehrle, who has played his entire career in Chicago, ranks fifth among White Sox all-time in strikeouts, sixth in starts and eighth in wins and innings.

Buehrle's agent, Jeff Berry, came back to Williams with the Marlins offer and Williams said "congratulations.''

"I think people will be just as unhappy as I am,'' Williams said. "Listen, given my druthers I would druther have him here than not. Two words probably best sums it up: It sucks. But this is part of sports. It's part of the business. Your favorite players and my favorite players will come and they will go.''

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The point isn't about Buehrle it's about Kenny Williams. During his tenure the White Sox have developed one of the worst farm systems in the game of baseball. In large measure, most of the disastrous player acquisitions (read Adam Dunn, Mark Peavy, Alex Rios) have come about because the White Sox had failed to develop or had traded away young players who could have filled in at DH, center field, starting pitcher, etc.

And let's not forget the degree to which Kenny Williams poisoned the Latin American market for the White Sox with his selection of Mr. Wilder to play a key role in the White Sox organization.

I have absolutely no problem with the idea that the White Sox will have to rebuild, when your car is totaled, you have to replace it. However, I feel very uncomfortable with the idea that the man to rebuild this "totaled" organization is the same man who totaled it in the first place.

Really surprised the Yankees didn't end up snagging Buerhle. They haven't done anything on the free agent market this season. And where did the Marlins get the money to spend on Reyes and Buerhle?

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This page contains a single entry by Daryl Van Schouwen published on December 7, 2011 4:06 PM.

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