The Miami Marlins reached agreement with left-handed pitcher Mark Buehrle on a four-year, $58 million deal on Wednesday, while Marlins president David Samson said the team had withdrawn its offer to Albert Pujols.
With Buehrle off the table, this clears the way for the other big-name lefty, C.J. Wilson, to sign a five-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels, barring any unforeseen developments.
Texas Rangers principal owner and CEO Nolan Ryan told FOXSports.com that the Rangers are probably not going to sign Wilson, who has been with the Rangers since his 2005 debut. General manager Jon Daniels sounded resigned to losing Wilson.
”I haven’t received a call to say he’s chosen to go elsewhere, but we’re prepared for that call,” Daniels said.
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen praised Buehrle over and over at baseball’s winter meetings. They were together on the Chicago White Sox this season, and Guillen was eager to have the left-hander on his side next year.
”This kid is special,” Guillen said. ”He pitched in the big scenarios, big moments, very tough city to pitch. When people love you in Chicago, that means something.”
Buehrle’s deal is subject to a physical, which the sides were arranging. His final decision reportedly was between the Marlins and the Washington Nationals, according to sources.
The Marlins have been the busiest team by far in the majors this week, spending $191 million on three prime free agents. They also landed two other All-Stars, shortstop Jose Reyes and closer Heath Bell. Plus, they’ve been pursuing Pujols and Wilson.
Quite a turnabout for a team that had the major leagues’ lowest payroll in 2006.
”The minnows have become Marlins,” agent Scott Boras said.
With Pujols unwilling to accept their $200 million-plus proposal, the if-you’ve-got-it-flaunt-it Marlins turned their attention to pitching in an effort to get off to a quick start in April at their $515 million, retractable-roof stadium. It has never been clear that the three-time NL MVP, coming off his second World Series title in six seasons, would be willing to leave the St. Louis Cardinals.
”I’m hoping they keep the other animal in St. Louis,” said former Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, now skipper of the NL East rival Atlanta Braves.
The 32-year-old Buehrle has been one of the majors’ most durable and effective pitchers for more than a decade. He has reached double figures in victories and thrown over 200 innings in each of the last 11 seasons, all with the White Sox.
Buehrle was 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA this year and won his third straight Gold Glove.
Buehrle is among the fastest workers in the big leagues. It works for him — he’s thrown two no-hitters while going 161-119, including a perfect game against Tampa Bay in 2009.
A workhorse for the White Sox, he helped them win the 2005 World Series when he even made a relief appearance. Chicago offered him salary arbitration last month, but he decided to find a new home after a visit to Miami, where the Marlins will move into a new ballpark next season.
”Him moving from the American League to the National League, it’s a big step for us,” Guillen said.
”I think he’s comfortable because I know what I’m going to get from him, and he knows what’s going to come from us, and I think that helps,” he said.