Buehrle's value, odds of departure on rise

CHICAGO -- It seems almost comical now, but at the end of the regular season Mark Buehrle said with a straight face that he didn’t know if any team would be interested in signing him.

It was a raise-your-eyebrow moment if there ever was one, but that’s Buehrle for you. As modest as they come, the low-key Buehrle showed that even successful athletes can have their insecurities.

The reality has become that in the early stages of the free-agent period there might not be more of a sought-after player than the left-hander.

Not only is Buehrle reportedly meeting with Marlins officials today, but foxsports.com is now saying that the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers are also interested in his services.

So what does it mean that baseball’s biggest spenders are looking to add Buehrle into the fold? Well, for starters, it seems that the only way Buehrle comes back to the White Sox is that his loyalty drives him to take less money from his old team.

The White Sox are simply in no position to match the financial resources of the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and even the Marlins, who plan to do a little shopping this winter.

The odds were stacked against Buehrle returning anyway. Having Chris Sale ready to move into the rotation lessens the blow of his departure, but nobody will adequately replace a pitcher that threw a no-hitter, a perfect game, and had a save and a solid start in a World Series triumph during more than a decade of consistency.

But it’s not as if the White Sox are merely victims of baseball’s big spenders. They chose to spend lavishly last offseason and the investment failed terribly. Had they waited to spend big money this winter, maybe Buehrle remains -- but then perhaps Paul Konerko is elsewhere already.

Whatever the case, it is becoming more obvious that Buehrle has simply outgrown his former team. It’s going to take an unexpected turn of events for him to be back next season.