Marlins are frontrunners to sign Buehrle

Marlins are frontrunners to sign Buehrle
December 4, 2011, 11:25 pm
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DALLAS -- Will Mark Buehrle reunite with Ozzie Guillen in Miami?

Believe it or not, this scenario could be getting closer to becoming a reality.

With the MLB winter meetings starting Monday in Dallas, the Marlins appear to be the most likely destination right now for the veteran lefty pitcher. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the Marlins' offer to Buehrle is considered "a very strong one," and likely has Miami as the current frontrunner to land the most coveted free agent pitcher on the market, with a reported 14 teams going after him.

However, the Marlins biggest stumbling block is Buehrle's desire for a no-trade clause. The Marlins have never granted any of their players a no-trade, but as a source put it, "there's always a first."

While the Marlins have the lead, they will have some competition this week. The Texas Rangers are said to be "extremely interested" in Buehrle, according to a source. The Washington Nationals are right up there as well. Even the Twins and Royals made contact this past week, but will only get into the game if the price for Buehrle drops, which doesn't seem likely or even possible at this point.

As for the White Sox, they remain in the background, in a quiet holding pattern until they know exactly where they're going. Despite not making an offer and having limited conversations with Buehrle and his agent in the past few weeks, the White Sox still have some things going for them if they choose to enter the Buehrle sweepstakes:

Since Buehrle has 10-5 rights with the White Sox, if he re-signs, a no-trade clause automatically kicks in.

Despite offers from other teams, Chicago weighs heavily in the mind of Buehrle, who has expressed his desire to remain with the White Sox.

And there's also the Jerry Reinsdorf factor, who could give GM Kenny Williams and assistant GM Rick Hahn the go-ahead to enter the game at the last minute.

Will Buehrle stay or will he go?

We could know in the next few days.