Yesterday I came across a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, stating that Mark Buehrle’s only obstacle in signing with the Marlins is their reluctance to grant him a no-trade clause. No current Marlins, including Hanley Ramirez, currently has a no-trade clause in their contract. Well, it appears that if he was to sign in Washington, they would want him for three years anyway, so, I say we grant him that and lock him up!
Personally, I don’t have any strong views on either side of the Buehrle argument. However, if it means stealing a solid pitcher from a division rival and acquiring a front-of-the-rotation pitcher, sign me up. As I previously mentioned, it doesn’t appear as though Washington is looking to sign guys so that they can flip them for prospects at the deadline. That is not who they are anymore; they have talent to compete now (for goodness sake they finished half a game under .500 last year). It looks as though any high-profile free agents that the Nationals are pursuing figure to be in the team’s long-term plans, and that’s the way it should be. Giving Buehrle a no-trade clause shows Nats fans and media alike that the team is trying to make a name for itself, and he has a much lower chance of backfiring than Jayson Werth.
Lots of fans are afraid that the Nationals will sign a big-ticket guy like Buehrle this year, fearing that he never lives up to the expectation. Well first off, let me just put it out there that high-profile guys almost never live up to media expectations. Media expectations are meant to set the standard that the athlete must perform at in order to not receive criticism. Thus, they set the bar quite high, so that they can have a segment criticizing the athlete on a regular basis, thus never running out of stories (yes ESPN, that was directed at you). To summarize, Buehrle will never live up to the “standards” that are set upon him, but if he continues performing at the rate that he has over the past 11 years, he’ll be a solid acquisition to say the least. So, unless we start seeing numbers like 3-years, $60 million, get those fears out of your heads, and understand that Buehrle is as good a signing as there is this offseason.
Another thing with a no-trade clause: it means that he can say no to any deal, and stay with the team he’s on. It doesn’t completely prevent the team from trading him. Chances are, if the Nationals found themselves trading Buehrle, it would likely be to a contender at a trade deadline, presuming the team falls apart and isn’t a contender themselves. I doubt Buehrle would say no to going to a better team. So it’s not even like we’d be stuck with him. Basically, it’s worth giving to him.
Now that the Marlins have signed Heath Bell, it seems as though they’re at least somewhat serious about making this push for power. The last thing that the Nationals need right now is another powerhouse in front of them. They need to step up and make a powerhouse of their own.
I know, I know, I made this big fuss all over some report from Ken Rosenthal. But, it’s another chance to talk about the Hot Stove! That’s what the offseason is all about, right?