Is Mark Buehrle a fit in Detroit?

MLB.com Hot Stove on Buehrle

Here’s what Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski had to say about his starting rotation during his end-of-season remarks last month:

“The most likely scenario would be that those young guys [prospects Jacob Turner, Andy Oliver, Adam Wilk, Duane Below) come to camp with the four guys that are set and compete for the fifth spot, and we have protection of a veteran type pitcher that can fill that if they’re not ready. But I also would say that, hey, if there’s some great starting pitcher that we really liked and was available for us, and we thought it was the type of move that made the most sense to get us better, would we be open to it? Yes. We like them all. We like every one of those [young] pitchers. But can I tell you 100 percent that they’re ready? No. Now, can they be ready? Yes.”

“Ideally, there would be an All-Star that would fall in our lap to fill that role for a year, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. We’re going to keep some flexability in how we get better.”

In other words, the Tigers could pursue a veteran starting pitcher, but it didn’t sound like they wanted a long-term contract that would block the path of their young pitching prospects, notably Turner.

With the news that the Tigers are among the teams that inquired on Mark Buehrle, I doubled back and asked Dombrowski on Monday whether the Tigers were more open to a long-term contract for another starter. His answer was short and sweet: “Our situation has not changed in that regard.”

With so many teams involved, it’s difficult to envision the Tigers being able to do a short-term deal with Buehrle. So if they’re going to go in on him, he would have to be that special case. And they would have to have a game plan on those young pitchers — other than trading them, because I don’t foresee them trading Turner.

From a pure pitching standpoint, Buehrle is a great fit — a veteran left-hander with pitching know-how and a style that gives a change of pace off the power arms in Detroit’s rotation. And contrary to the crafty left-hander stereotype, he isn’t that old; he’ll turn 33 in March.

There’s good reason why he ranks among the most popular free-agent starters on the market. But history shows the Tigers have avoided those top free-agent starters and the contract that accompany them. Kenny Rogers was a second-level free agent with baggage (the cameraman incident) when Detroit signed him at the 2005 Winter Meetings. Jarrod Washburn was the far more popular left-hander that winter, and the Tigers didn’t go in on that. The one top free-agent starter the Tigers went in big on was Carl Pavano, and they had to thank their lucky stars to this day that he didn’t accept the offer and signed with the Yankees instead.

5 Comments

buehrle won’t fall into anyones lap – the only way this makes sense is if you turn around and trade porcello for a leadoff guy (who i pray could play 2nd).

No way I trade Porcello. But I said no way you trade Granderson. I would go after Buehrle if he wants to play in Detroit.

First off, I don’t think Detroit will sign Buehrle, but for discussion’s sake, I also don’t think signing him would hold back anyone. Turner is two years away, I hope, because I wouldn’t want to see him rushed. I’ve not been impressed with Oliver. Below and Wilk are iffy. I haven’t seen enough of Smyly to form an opinion.
The thing is, our top four rotation guys may not remain effective for the next three years. Verlander will be Verlander, Fister will be Fister, and Porcello will continue to improve, IMO. That leaves Scherzer, and therein lies the rub. In any discussion of our rotation, Max is automatically included as one of the big guns. I’m not sure that’s accurate, as I think the jury is still out on him. All pitchers have bad starts, but when Max has a clunker, it clunks very loudly. With him, there is no struggling through several innings while limiting big damage. He gets shelled and shelled hard and fast. Despite his great start in New York, of all the guys to be on turn to pitch game six of the ALCS, I didn’t want it to be him. You saw what happened. The game was over before it started, and that’s not an isolated occurence. He’s got all the stuff in the world, but will he ever be able to pin down those ever elusive mechanics? We’re talking about the next three or so years here, and we need consistency from our starters.
We could use Buehrle.

Rich, I like the way your thinking. Your culling the herd with thought and intention. Creating a model of consistancy that would strike fear into any opposing team. I can see it now…uggh…we better win in this series because the next one is the Tigers…fear and consternation. If there is any money left in the till we could use a really good lefty on the hill.

I like the way Verlander has developed his confidence and he makes the entire pitching staff 10x better. If we had a Kenny Rodgers type lefthander it would really solidify things. I loved Kenny for that. Buehrle fits the type and a need. It might seem like tweeking things but if Mark really wants to stay in the Midwest rather than go with his old Manager, if he has any respect at all for the Tigers he may listen at least.

Would another team like Scherzer? duh!

Agree, I liked Buehrle even before the WS left him go to the open market. He will make Scherzer a first class trading chip for the second or third base defender.
Porcello is learning in ML what he was supposed to learn in the minors.(Teaching him to not use his fastball was a bigger mistake)
Also liked Dotel but before the new contract he was out of reach, now its time to go for him.Luis Ayala as Rich said is also a great option

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