Friday, November 4, 2011

Free agents use Yankees to jack up price

Now that the offseason has officially started, it's time for the annual dance of agents of players who have absolutely no interest in playing for the New York Yankees to use the Bronx Bombers to jack up their price.

First up: Mark Buehrle. The long-time ace of the Chicago White Sox is finally a free agent, but has generally been in the conversational shadows of CJ Wilson and other free-agent starters. The agent for Buehrle, who has hurled a perfect game, talked up Buehrle’s durability in throwing more than 200 innings for 11 seasons. Is it just a coincidence that Brian Cashman mentioned AJ Burnett’s durability as a positive contribution by the otherwise inconsistent righty or did Buehrle’s agent see Cashman’s comments and decide to let the general manager subtly know that Buehrle could be his guy?

I don’t know much about Buehrle except that he has roots in the Midwest. New York is a notoriously difficult place to play with the media glare, but Buehrle did spend nearly a dozen years in Chicago so I doubt it would be that much of a transition. But just because Buehrle wouldn’t be blinded by the big-city lights doesn’t mean he actually wants to play for the Yankees, especially since he has only ever played in Chicago (hey Theo Epstein, how about stealing your cross-town rivals' ace—wouldn’t that make a major splash?). It could just mean that Buehrle and his agent will use the Yankees, as many other players do, to increase the bidding for the pitcher’s services.

Should the Yankees go after Buehrle? It doesn’t hurt to take a look. I don’t know how much he would cost them, but if the Yankees are at all interested, the price will be substantially higher.

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