Buehrle return not looking good

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Buehrle return not looking good

DALLAS--- If youre holding your breath for Mark Buehrle to return to the White Sox, you might need an oxygen mask.

And if youre Robin Ventura, who arrived at the winter meetings on Monday as the new manager of the White Sox, youre facing the realistic possibility that when the season begins, Buehrle will be wearing a different uniform.

Its easy if he stays, you just let him pitch. Obviously if he goes, its a tremendous loss, Ventura told reporters. You look at what hes meant to the organization as a teammate, and even being around as little as I was, it was obvious what hes meant. Id be disappointed.

The Marlins, Rangers and Nationals have been the most aggressive in their attempts to sign Buehrle. When the Nationals met with him at his home last month in Missouri, they expressed that signing him was their No. 1 priority, according to a source. Now the Nationals have entered the mix for fellow lefty free agent C.J. Wilson. Maybe theyve gotten the hint.

As Comcast SportsNet reported on Sunday, the Marlins' offer to Buehrle is considered very strong and Im told they remain the leading candidate to sign him.

Things could change here over the next few days. His agent, Jeff Berry, is a busy man. Many teams want to speak with him about his client, but the Marlins have been sitting on a pile of money for years and now theyre ready to spend it -- a lot of it. Just ask the Mets, who tried to resign shortstop Jose Reyes and got beaten out by Miami by over 30 million.

Leaving Chicago would be the most difficult decision of Buehrles career, but if the White Sox are unable to counter with a competitive offer to bring him back, theyll help make the decision for him.

Every White Sox fan hopes it doesnt come to this, but unless something changes, this appears to be the road where its all headed.

Its a scenario Ventura found himself in back in 1998 when, after nine seasons, he left the White Sox, the team that drafted him, and signed with the New York Mets as a free agent.

Ive been in his position and I know whats going through in his head, Ventura said of Buehrle. He likes Chicago, he likes the White Sox, but again, its where youre at in your career, and whats getting offered, and whats getting thrown at you. Sometimes you get a little confused. When you look at what you really want, if it could happen, he would probably want to stay, but theres a lot of people wanting him, and thats something he has to weigh and hes probably getting better offers.

Ventura actually ran into Buehrle a couple weeks ago in New York City where Mark received his Gold Glove Award.

I dont know if its bad, but I made my case in person to him, Ventura admitted. I just wanted him to know what I thought of him and what hes meant to the organization.

What was Buehrles reaction?

He just smiled and laughed.

Ventura knows its not his decision to make. He says that he will voice his opinions to Williams about players, whether its Buehrle or possible trade pieces like John Danks, Carlos Quentin and Gavin Floyd. But in the end, its not his call.

There was no I had to have this or 'I had to have that, Ventura explained about his dealings with Williams when he took the job. Im agreeing to manage the White Sox, not that I have to have a certain player. Would I like to have them? Oh yeah. I realize what John means, and Carlos and Mark. I get that and would love to have that, but in the situation were in and what happened last year, is it for sure? No, but I would like to have it.

Everyone wants to have Buehrle back.

Ventura.
Williams.
Jerry Reinsdorf.

But theres only so much money.

And oxygen.

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Quintana and Miguel Gonzalez looked like a pair of pitchers who began their offseasons earlier to prep for the World Baseball Classic.

Both White Sox starting pitchers looked sharp as they made their spring debuts in a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Camelback Ranch on Sunday afternoon. Team USA relievers David Robertson and Nate Jones also pitched a scoreless inning each in the win. Prospect Zack Burdi also pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Gonzalez, who is on the Team Mexico roster, only allowed a single on a dropped pop up on the infield in two scoreless innings.

“I’m a little ahead of the game right now,” Gonzalez said. “I started a little earlier this year in the offseason to work out, thinking I wanted to go to the WBC and get ready for that. But I think the most important thing right now is getting ready for April 1 with the White Sox. That’s my goal, and you don’t get these opportunities every year. To represent Mexico, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.”

Quintana, who will start for Colombia in their March 10 opener against the United States, allowed a run and a hit in two innings. He struck out one and hit a batter.

“I feel good,” Quintana said. “I think for the first day I feel comfortable. I hit the glove. I feel good. A couple of pitches spinning were good and I feel really good.”

[RELATED: Jim Thome on being a finalist for National Baseball Hall of Fame]

Robertson is throwing much earlier than normal in anticipation of his March 6 departure for Miami, where Team USA begins its tournament. The club’s closer normally wouldn’t appear in a game until the calendar turns to March. Robertson said he usually only needs 5-6 spring outings to get in shape for the regular season. Though he felt a little rusty, the right-hander was pleased with several changeups and fastballs he threw.

“I wouldn’t say it was smooth but I got through it,” Robertson said. “I had a few bad pitches that were just not competitive. … All in all I got through what seemed like a tough inning for a first outing.

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m going to go down there and put the ‘USA’ across my chest and have a chance to win something for our country. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m excited to play with a group of guys I’ve been playing against my whole life.”

Eddie Alvarez had a three-run double for the White Sox while Tyler Saladino collected two hits in three trips. Catcher Roberto Pena went 2-for-2 with an RBI. 

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Normally upbeat and positive, Jim Thome can’t help but beam with pride when asked about his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Thome, who blasted 612 career home runs, including 134 with the White Sox, is eligible for induction for the first time in 2018. Even though he’s expected by many to one day be voted into Cooperstown, perhaps even in his first year, Thome said he’s merely honored to be on the ballot. Thome is joined on the ballot by Chipper Jones and former teammate Omar Vizquel, among others. Voting begins in December and the results will be announced next January.

“To even be on the ballot and thought of, it would be the greatest honor I think you could get,” Thome said. “Or if you get an opportunity to go into the greatest fraternity baseball has or created, it would be indescribable. How do you ever think as a kid or a high school player or even going through the minor leagues, that you’d play at the big leagues that long? And then to get an opportunity at the end of your career to be put on the ballot is so great.

“That would be the coolest moment ever.”

Thome – who is in White Sox camp as a special assistant to the general manager – provided plenty of big moments in a career that spanned 22 seasons. He hit 30 home runs in 12 of 13 seasons between 1996-2008, leading the league with 47 in 2003. The slugger was a five-time All-Star and produced 72.9 b-Wins Above Replacement.

[RELATED: Brett Lawrie trying to clear final hurdles]

Thome isn’t as superstitious about his candidacy as others previously have been. He won’t be the guy to bring up the topic, but the Peoria, Ill.-native doesn’t shy away from discussing it, either.

“It’s not something you talk a lot about,” Thome said. “We’re not going to bring it up. But when people do bring it up, there’s a sense of pride, a sense of ‘Wow, baseball has thought that highly to put you on the ballot.’ And the fact that there’s just this wonderful fraternity of incredible players that you could be a part of, if you’re chosen.”