Buehrle’s going out on top (sort of anyway)

Well this is a real Sunday-morning-kick-in-the-pants…

I mean, the good news is that Buehrle’s (presumed) two innings will get him to 200 innings this season … for the 15th straight season. Buehrle has been a major leaguer for 15 full seasons.

One thing I always forget: Buehrle reached the majors (for good) in his second professional season … after getting drafted in the 38th round.

Just looking at his performance this season, it seems sort of incredible that a) he’s retiring, and b) he’s not going to make the Blue Jays’ postseason roster. After all, Buehrle’s going to lead the American League in shutouts and walks per nine innings … both for the first time in his tremendous career.

Of course retiring is a personal matter. Some guys want to play for as long as they can; some guys need to play for as long as they can. But some guys don’t.

Buehrle’s not good enough for the postseason roster, though? 

Well, it’s close. You need only four starters, and David Price and Marcus Stroman have pitched a lot better than anybody else on the roster. Which basically leaves two slots for four guys: Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, Marco Estrada, and Drew Hutchison.

Hutchison’s 5.47 ERA disqualifies him. Which leaves three for two. And here’s the funny thing about that: Buehrle’s fielding-independent numbers, and hence his Wins Above Replacement, are slightly better than Dickey’s, and Estrada’s.

So why is he getting left out? Well, Buehrle’s got a 4.91 ERA in his last dozen starts, and I think there’s this perception — which he seems to share, based on his retirement announcement — that he’s running on empty.

It’s a shame that we’re not going to see him pitch any more. But then again, it would be awfully strange to see him pitching long relief in a blowout or something.

So Godspeed, Mr. Buehrle. You will be missed in these parts.