Home > MLB, Nate Douglas > Why Mark Buehrle Scares Me

Why Mark Buehrle Scares Me

By: Nate Douglas

The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings are currently underway, and just like eggnog is synonymous with Christmas, so are rumors with the Winter Meetings.  Among the rumors is the Texas Rangers’ pursuit of free agent pitcher Mark Buehrle.  If CJ Wilson signs with another team (which sounds likely), I still do not think signing Buehrle would be the best move for the Rangers.  Over the course of his career, Buehrle has only had one sub 3.50 ERA season, which was 6 years ago.  His highest K/9 rate was 6.05.  When over the course of a season a pitcher strikes out less batters than the average number of days a Kim Kardashian relationship lasts, you don’t miss many bats. His xFIP last year was 4.14, a plateau he has reached regularly, and it would not surprise me if he had an ERA in the 4.00s during the course of his next contract.  I’m sorry, but that doesn’t sound like a $40 million pitcher.  The only argument I’ve heard in Buehrle’s favor was that he’s durable and can get you innings.  In response to this argument, I present you these stats (these averages were taken from 2005-2010):

 

Pitcher A: 189.2 IP, 4.39 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 139 K’s

Pitcher B: 213.6 IP, 3.94 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 117 K’s

 

Fairly similar numbers, Pitcher B obviously is a little better.  He’s Mark Buehrle.  Pitcher A is Kevin Millwood (who was in decline keep in mind), the Rangers’ last durable-gets-you-innings-pitcher.  That’s when the Rangers didn’t have any other starting pitchers to speak of.  Now, they have a rotation of Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison with Scott Feldman as the long-man.  A sixth pitcher would be nice to create even more depth, and if a trade opportunity presents itself for somebody like John Danks or Matt Garza, the Rangers would do well to pick one of them up.  But they don’t need a pitcher like Buehrle, the Rangers already have a left-handed inning eater who doesn’t pile up many Ks—Matt Harrison. Instead, if the Rangers had to get a free agent pitcher, I’d rather they give a couple years to Roy Oswalt at a cheaper price with higher upside than pay $40 million for a lukewarm pitcher in decline.  The Texas Rangers are the two-time defending American League champions.  That kind of pedigree leads to Joe Nathan/Neftali Feliz-like acquisitions.  They are no longer the AL West pondscum from six years, which lead to Millwood-esque acquisitions, which is what Buehrle would be.

Nate Douglas lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with his wife and son (whom he is 17-0 against in living-room wrestling…never mind if his son is a toddlerweight).  While his day job is sorting through the dirty legal details of the oil and gas industry, his night job is a sports Jack Bauer.  He has yet to come off his Dallas Mavericks championship-high, and he prays daily for those last couple World Series wins for his beloved Rangers, and that his children will never know a day where they weren’t fans of his favorite teams.  You can follow him on Twitter- @NateDouglas34. 

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