CHICAGO -- No longer the Chicago White Sox manager and in the National League now, Ozzie Guillen is still poised to strike a blow to his former team.
Guillen is now the manager of the Florida Marlins, a club that reportedly is looking to make a splash on the free-agent market with some money to spend.
Some of that cash could be headed in the direction of Mark Buehrle, the White Sox’s veteran left-hander, who just won his third consecutive Gold Glove Award on Tuesday.
If the Marlins do land Buehrle, it’s not out of spite from Guillen to send his former team reeling. The Marlins actually do desire a proven left-handed starter and Buehrle is emerging as one of the best available on the free-agent market.
Left-hander CC Sabathia opted out of his contract with the New York Yankees, making him a free agent ever so briefly, but then promptly agreed to a new deal with his club. That signing left Buehrle among the next group of proven lefty starters along with the Texas Rangers’ C.J. Wilson.
With Wilson saying this week that he is intent on staying with the Rangers, Buehrle is emerging as not only one of the top available lefties, but one the Marlins’ manager knows well. Guillen has constantly heaped praise on Buehrle, at one point saying that if he had 25 Mark Buehrles, it would be his ideal scenario.
There is no arguing the credentials of the 32-year-old pitcher. He has won at least 10 games and pitched 200 innings in each of the last 11 seasons, by far the longest such streak in baseball. His ERA has been below 4.00 in eight of those 11 seasons.
More could be known about the Marlins’ interest by Thursday. That is when teams are open to negotiate with all free agents. Currently, free agents are operating in a five-day window when they can only negotiate with their most recent club.
The White Sox are not expected to strike a deal with Buehrle by the end of the five-day window late Wednesday night. They are planning on letting other teams set the market for him and then decide if he fits into their budget.
Even if Guillen’s Marlins don’t land Buehrle, they could still end up setting a price tag that would hurt the White Sox’s chances of keeping a pitcher who has been a fan favorite and is one of the last links to the team’s 2005 World Series title.