The Toronto Blue Jays enjoyed a rare victory on Thursday night, winning 4-0 over the Houston Astros. This was the team’s first victory since the All-Star break (yikes) and it was authored by veteran Mark Buehrle.
Buehrle will pitch once more before the July 31 trade deadline, and I would very much like to see him shopped. The 2013 Jays have been a nightmare, and even though many of the players are under contract for a few more seasons, I still think the team needs to see what fruits the market may bare for the veteran. The lefty may be one of the few assets that the Jays could fetch a solid return for.
It is true that Buehrle has been the Jays’ best starter this season, and he offers an uber rare trait for Jays pitchers in that he is an innings-eating machine, yet I still think it is worth exploring a trade. I would not be looking to give him away; in fact, my goal would be to see if a MLB–ready second or third baseman could be snagged in return for Buehrle and then have Brett Lawrie play the remaining position.
In 2014 and 2015, Buehrle will make a combined $37 million, so it would likely appease Rogers to see their last-place product jettison such a lofty price tag. As far as the on-field product, it is worth mentioning that Buerhle has struggled vs. AL East opponents. The vet has started 11 games vs. the ALE and has surrendered 79 hits in 69 innings, plus 46 earned runs (era of 6.00) and a dozen dingers. Not good.
His next start will be against the Oakland Atheltics, and while I do think the A’s could use Buehrle, the fact that he is owed a ton of cash over the next two seasons surely takes them out of the mix. However, fellow AL West team Texas Rangers (and perhaps even the Los Angeles Angels) could fit him into their lofty payroll.
I would surely be looking to see what interest the AL Central teams have in the the 34-year old as he spent numerous years dominating that division as a member of the Chicago White Sox. Buehrle is 84-58 with a 4.1 ERA in his career vs. the AL Central.
It’s hard to say if any NL team would have interest in Buerhle mainly because of his price tag, but perhaps the free-spending Los Angeles Dodgers may bite. Could the Atlanta Braves see Buehrle as a veteran who could replace Tim Hudson? Doubtful, I suppose, but I would be putting out feelers all over the place if I were the Jays.
Currently, it does not look like Buehrle will be shopped, but I sure would see what the market is like for him if I were the Jays. There are legit reasons to keep him, but he is a rare ’13 Jay in that he could have value on the trade market.
The Jays should be looking at 2014 right now (unfortunately they are at RIP status for the ’13 season). The approaching trade deadline is the best place to start, and Buehrle may be the most attractive member of the Jays to acquire.