12/07/11 9:10 PM EST
Buehrle agrees to four-year deal with Marlins
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MLB.com has confirmed Mark Buehrle has agreed to a four-year, $58 million contract with the Marlins on Wednesday, giving the organization its third high-profile addition in three days. Buehrle is expected to take his physical in Miami and be introduced at a news conference in Miami on Friday.
News that Buehrle will be joining Miami came a couple of hours after All-Star Jose Reyes was introduced as the Marlins' new shortstop. On Monday, All-Star closer Heath Bell officially signed, with that announcement highlighting the first day of the Winter Meetings.
"Outstanding week," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I'd never thought we were going to do it so fast, so quick. They were very aggressive."
Buehrle broke in with the White Sox in 2000, and he had never worn another uniform in the big leagues. Now, the left-hander will be joining his former manager in Miami.
Buehrle provides a much-needed left-hander to a Miami rotation that was predominantly right-handed last season. With Chicago in 2011, the 32-year-old was 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA in 205 1/3 innings.
Guillen has made it clear that Buehrle is a close friend.
"I'm very happy to have this kid," Guillen said. "He's one of my favorite players."
In early November, Buehrle and his wife visited Miami, meeting with team officials and taking a tour of the ballpark.
"The Marlins know how much I love him," Guillen said. "I know how much he can help us. If we have Buehrle, it can make my life a little easier."
In the past three days, the Marlins have signed three players for a total of $191 million. Never before has the organization spent so freely, because it never enjoyed the benefits of its own ballpark. The Marlins are moving into a 37,000-seat, retractable-roof ballpark in the Little Havana section of Miami next year.
Buehrle has won at least 10 games and made at least 30 starts in 11 straight seasons. In his career, the lefty is 161-119 with a 3.83 ERA.
While Buehrle is a top-of-the-rotation pitcher, Guillen noted that if Josh Johnson is healthy, he will start on Opening Day. Johnson remains the ace of the staff, but he missed most of the 2011 season with right shoulder inflammation.
Bringing in an established veteran like Buehrle promise to provide a boost for the rotation and team.
"He's going to make everyone around him better," Johnson said of Buehrle. "He's the type of guy that we have needed for a long time."
The Marlins' rotation now shapes up with Johnson, Buehrle, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad. Wade LeBlanc, acquired in a trade with the Padres for catcher John Baker, adds depth.
The Marlins also are expected to remain active looking for another proven starting pitcher.
After agreeing to terms with Buehrle, the Marlins were firm that they weren't going to increase their offer to Albert Pujols.
And according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, informed the Marlins on Wednesday afternoon that the slugger would not be headed to Miami.
With Pujols off the table, the Marlins are expected to talk internally about whether to pursue Prince Fielder.
The Marlins remain in the mix for left-handed pitcher C.J. Wilson, as the team looks to improve its rotation as much as possible. Because the demands on the trade market are so high, Miami is being active on the Wilson front.
"Last night, I was having dinner with my family, and [the front office] was working," Guillen said. "The funny thing is, I was just talking to one of my kids a while ago. I was like, 'Wow, people were criticizing the Marlins, because they were never spending any money.'
"Now, they're spending the money, and they're criticizing how much money they were spending. 'How can these people spend that much money? Wow, they're crazy.' Before, it was the opposite. You can never make anybody happy."
"First of all, he's a winner," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "I think he's 40 games over .500 in his career [he's 42 games over .500]. That's pretty hard to do, to sustain that kind of winning. He's got a World Series championship under his belt. He's one of the best fielding pitchers in baseball. He's super competitive. And the experience, 11 years in the big leagues and consistency, that's tough to find."