Yesterday, GM Mike Rizzo led a group of Nationals officials that went to visit free agent left-hander Mark Buehrle at his home. Buehrle appears to be at the top of the wish list for the Nats, followed by fellow free agent starters Roy Oswalt and C.J. Wilson. Buehrle appears to be the easiest to get, as Oswalt and Wilson have not won a World Series, so they are looking for a team that has a definite chance at competing immediately. Buehrle on the other hand already has a ring, and the Nationals could compete next year anyway, so he appears to be the most obtainable. I previously mentioned that the Nationals were pursuing Buehrle in a November 9th article, stating that I thought that he would be a great fit in D.C.
Now, there have been no actual reports of a contract offer, but this scenario seems quite familiar. Remember last offseason when Rizzo skipped the Winter Meetings, and instead flew with team owner Ted Lerner to Jayson Werth’s house to make a deal? That sure turned out promising (even if the contract itself hasn’t). Hopefully the same is the case for Buehrle.
I’d predict that Buehrle will fetch something in the neighborhood of 3 years and $45-million. He is a stud, but also on the older side, so he will not be getting one of those 5-6 year deals, unless of course the White Sox want to make him a lifer. I think that Washington can and should offer that contract, instead of waiting until next year to pick up someone, because other than Jayson Werth, who has his own issues to deal with, there are not any real quality veterans on the Nationals’ roster. Buehrle would give them that much-needed veteran presence to team up with youngsters like Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Brad Peacock, Tom Milone, etc.
I will reiterate my stance on the possibility of Buehrle; he is the most logical signing the Nats can make right now. He will not demand as many years as say, Wilson, and will not be a big risk compared to an alternative like Yu Darvish. Buehrle has been putting up big numbers for a decade, and although he does not rack up strikeouts like Strasburg, the man wins ball games, usually in good fashion. He will be good for 200 innings every season, and that is not something one can say with confidence about any of the current options the Nationals have next year.
Rizzo better come back to Washington with a new stud on his roster.