The biggest obstacle to Mark Buehrle joining the Marlins is the team’s reluctance to give him a no-trade clause, according to major-league sources.
The Marlins are targeting a left-handed starter on a free-agent market, and the holdup in their talks with Buehrle could intensify the club’s pursuit of C.J. Wilson, sources say.
The Marlins, Rangers and Angels are the teams most prominently in the mix for Wilson, according to one source. The Nationals also are pursuing both Wilson and Buerhle.
No Marlin has a no-trade clause, including shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who is signed through 2014. It is not known whether the Marlins gave free-agent closer Heath Bell a no-trade clause in his new, three-year, $27 million contract, which is pending a physical.
Clubs routinely award no-trade protection to high-profile free agents such as the ones the Marlins are pursuing. The Marlins have made offers to Buerhle, shortstop Jose Reyes and first baseman Albert Pujols. They also have met with Wilson, though it is not known whether they made him an offer.
Pujols and Buehrle had full no-trade protection with their prior clubs due to their 10-5 rights — 10 years of major-league service, five with the same team — so it’s reasonable for them to attempt to preserve no-trade protection with new clubs.
Buerhle, 32, has spent his entire career with the White Sox — the past eight seasons under Ozzie Guillen, the new Marlins’ manager. He prefers the Midwest, but would welcome a move to the National League, sources say.