MLB Free Agents 2012: Can Chicago White Sox Keep Mark Buehrle from Yankees?

Tom FirmeAnalyst IINovember 9, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29:  Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle #56 of the Chicago White Sox delivers during the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field on August 29, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Brian Kersey/Getty Images

Mark Buehrle could go from being a Chicago White Sox fan favorite to a betrayer of White Sox fans. Possibly, Buehrle could leave the White Sox for the New York Yankees. Seeing Buehrle drape the Yankees pinstripes around his shoulders would make White Sox fans cringe.

Watching Buehrle join a division rival would be disturbing, but having him sign with the Yankees would produce nothing less than a wrenching feeling.

After all, hatred of any division or geographic rival can be displaced at a moment's notice for hatred of the Yankees.

That hatred could cause White Sox fans' blood to boil.


Signing Buehrle Would Be Ideal for Yankees.

The Yankees seem to be interested in signing Buehrle. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that he plans to contact Buehrle's agent, Jeff Berry. An AL Central talent evaluator told the New York Post, "If you're looking for value, it's Buehrle because the Yankees have Sabathia and aren't looking for an ace."

Considering that the Yankees don't need an ace, Buehrle is certainly the perfect signing for them. Even though he has served as an ace for the White Sox through the years, Buehrle is more like a No. 1 starter than an ace. Only twice in his career has Buehrle posted ERAs below 3.50.

A typical ace does that in any given year.

Buehrle would fit the No. 2 role very well with the Yankees. After Sabathia, the Yankees starting rotation isn't a sure thing. Ivan Nova went 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA, but 2011 was his first year as a starter. Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon were the third and fourth pitchers in the rotation, respectively.

Even the White Sox had cast away Garcia and Colon—two pitchers who just happened to have good years this season.

Buehrle holds the extensive resume that Nova lacks and the year-to-year reliability that Garcia and Colon lack.

Buehrle seems to be willing to give the Yankees his ears. Berry told the New York Daily News "The biggest thing for the Yankees or any other team is to go to a place where he'll have the opportunity to win."

The Yankees would definitely give Buehrle a chance to win. The Yankees are the most successful MLB team, having won 27 World Series titles and appeared in the playoffs in 16 of the last 17 seasons.  Their last losing season was in 1992.

The White Sox can talk a big game, but can't ensure victory like the Yankees. After hiring Robin Ventura, the White Sox look to be in rebuilding mode. Whether the White Sox could give Buehrle ample run support depends on whether Adam Dunn bounces back and the possibility of Dayan Viciedo and other young players can hit for an entire season.


Conclusion:  The White Sox Couldn't Match an Offer Made By the Yankees.

Kenny Williams wouldn't be able to match any offer that Cashman would make. Cashman might offer $16 or $17 million for Buehrle. Anything past $14 million would cause Williams to fold.

Williams is looking at a tight budget this offseason. With close to $93 million committed to 13 players, Williams has little money to spend on free agents.

Anything Cashman would call a generous offer would brush Williams away from Buehrle.

A bidding war between the White Sox and Yankees would be anything but a war. If the Yankees are serious about chasing Buehrle, then the White Sox are out of the running. Watching Buehrle slip on a Yankees jersey might seem like a grim possibility, but it might be inevitable.