In agreeing to a four-year, 58 million contract with Mark Buehrle, Miami added a durable, dependable arm to their starting rotation. That's the positive side. The negative side is they're paying 14.5 million to a high-contact pitcher who will be 37 in the final year of the deal.
Over the course of his four-year, 56 million deal with the White Sox that expired after last season, Buehrle was worth 66.5 million to the White Sox -- a surplus value of 10.5 million. Most of that surplus value came in 2008, which ranks among the best seasons of Buehrle's career. From 2009-2011, he was worth 1-1.5 million more than his salary per season.
Buehrle's durability over the last dozen years is well-known, as he hasn't failed to throw fewer than 201 innings in any season since joining the White Sox starting rotation in 2001. But as Buehrle enters his mid and late 30's, can Miami expect the same kind of durability?
Generally, the answer to that question would be no. But Buehrle isn't your average pitcher -- heck, his fastball is still the same speed as it was when he was 27. He's gone through his prime with an 86 mph fastball, so why can't it continue into his late 30's?
But no matter the player, as he gets older injuries become more likely. A lot of Buehrle's value is predicated on him throwing 200 innings, and if he loses five or six starts to an injury, that's enough to take his value below his salary.
That's why this move is risky for Miami. It helps that Ozzie Guillen has managed Buehrle since 2004 and knows how to manage his innings load to keep him as fresh as possible. But one freak injury and suddenly, Miami is saddled with overpaying Buehrle for a year.
Miami can -- apparently -- afford to shoulder that monetary risk, though. The White Sox could, too, but as they transition to a younger roster, there are better ways for Kenny Williams & Co. to spend 58 million.
Sentimentally, keeping Buehrle would've been great. And performance-wise, he'd probably still be successful with the Sox. But that's a lot of money to spend on someone of Buehrle's age, and the Sox shouldn't be criticized for not matching the contract offer.
Maybe this is nothing more than an effort to soften the blow of losing Buehrle -- who, for the record, has been my favorite player since I was 12 -- by saying "well, he wouldn't have been worth it." Chances are, Buehrle will be worth the contract he signed with Florida. But it's less of a slam dunk than the last four-year, 50 million Buehrle signed.
What are your thoughts on losing Buehrle? Does his contract make it easier to understand? Or would you still give anything to have him pitch for the Sox? Let us know in the comments or on twitter @WhiteSoxTalkCSN.