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Should the Sox trade Buehrle?

George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

Let me get this straight from the outset; I'm a big fan of Mark Buehrle's. Who isn't? Despite the overwhelming presence of Ozzie Guillen, who remains the face of the White Sox franchise, Buehrle continues to be the team's marquee player. Yes, I know the ruggedly handsome and gregarious Gordon Beckham is on a fast track to replace Buehrle but right now, the affable and respectful lefty from St. Charles, Missouri is still the player's face of the sagging south siders.  Why, on Tuesday night, he squatted behind the plate to catch the ceremonial pitch from teenage sensation Justin Bieber. Buehrle has done this service often as the role model for the organization. Thankfully, Buehrle and Bieber did not perform a duet. For those of us in the media, it's hard to find a more approachable, cooperative and first class athlete than Buehrle. He sometimes seems as perfect as the historic game he threw last year. And his highlight reel includes a no-hitter and this remarkable play.... 

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All the more reason it pains me to say this; Kenny Williams must examine a trade before Buehrle is vested as a 5 and 10 man.  On July 6th, Buehrle will regain his full no-trade status thanks to being in the big leagues for 10 years and the same club for 5. He can veto any trade. Buehrle of course, has spent his entire career with the Sox, much to the delight of their fans who clamored for the general manager to sign him to a long term deal before the 2007 trading deadline. The fans got their wish and so did Buehrle who signed a 4 year extension worth 56 million dollars. Buehrle had a no trade clause through the 2008 season but it became a limited no-trade until July 6th of this season.

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Here's the problem; Buehrle has not pitched the way he did during his first 5 years with the sox when he went 81 and 52. Since then, his record is 52 and 48.  What's far more troubling; since his perfect game against the Tampa Rays back on July 23rd, Buehrle has gone 4 and 11 and his ERA is a frightening 4.95, over a full run higher than his career number.  And over the last four plus seasons, his strikeouts to walks ratio has decreased while his WHIP has risen. Once a workhorse, Buehrle's innings pitched over the last four years are down an average of 25 from his first 5 years.

Is this a reason to trade him?  If you're Williams, you must examine the possibility. While Buerle's no-trade clause is likely limited to six teams, I would suggest he still could fetch an attractive price of prospects. The Sox already have a ton invested in Jake Peavy and will soon have to pay handsomely to secure John Danks for many more years. The Sox have minor league prospects, most notably Daniel Hudson, closing in on becoming a big leaguer. If the Sox continue to falter or find catching the Twins and or the Tigers too difficult a task, Williams likely will begin the phase of shopping some of his players. Buehrle has to be one of them.


I realize the very idea of trading Buehrle is sacrilegious. But he's also threatened to retire after this contract, all the more reason to pause and consider the Sox future.  Remember, Buerhle has affection for the St. Louis Cardinals. Maybe there's a match there. Don't think another contender wouldn't show interest.  And if Buehrle recaptures the form that had him 11 and 3 before pitching that perfect game, it makes him even more attractive so long as the Sox are swimming closer to last place than first.  Unfortunately for Buehlre and the Sox, he has not pitched well since that historic effort. 14 million is 14 million and Buehrle isn't performing like a pitcher making that kind of cash.

It simply makes sense for Williams to do his due diligence, just like he has in scouring the countryside for a left hand bat with power. You soon might see the names of Adam Dunn and Adam LaRoche bandied about... and maybe Buerhle's, too.

It makes sense to explore trading Buehrle. It could save dollars, as well.

You can follow me on twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook. I'm also doing a share of Cubs 10th inning post game shows on WGN radio 720



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Christopherchitown said:


You don't know what your talking about, NEVER LET HIM LEAVE!

George Ofman said:


I turly understand your love for Mark. But be realistic: if the Sox won't contend, you at least have to consider. Thanks for reading and your passion.

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