Sox Drawer: Buehrle's all in... for 2011 and more

Sox Drawer: Buehrle's all in... for 2011 and more
February 18, 2011, 11:36 pm
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Friday, Feb. 18, 2011
Posted 5:41 p.m.

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Mark Buehrle is a man without a filter. A pitcher who says whats on his mind.

I usually have my comments once a year, once every couple years, Buehrle admits. I say something I probably shouldnt have. Sometimes people like it, sometimes people dont.

Michael Vick, for example.

But Friday, Buehrle shared some words that people will like, especially if you live south of Madison Street in Chicago. The White Sox legend is backing off comments hes made the last two years when he frequently hinted about retiring after his contract runs out following this season.

Instead, he has arrived at spring training thinking about playing this year and beyond.

A couple years ago I was really, really seriously considering retiring after this year, and I think the percentage is going down, Buehrle told Comcast SportsNet.

Buehrle acknowledges that there is still a small brain cell in his noggin that yearns to walk away to be with his family for good, but after talking it over with his wife Jamie during the off-season, the plan is for Buehrle to finish out his contract, and then sign another one.

Where?

Hopefully its here, Buehrle said. I dont know what the team has moneywise for the next couple years. Theres a lot of factors. They might have someone else up and coming and they dont even want me back. Im open to whatever. If this is the last year, Im going to go out and have fun like I always do.

"Im not going to put any more pressure on myself during the season. Ill go out there every five days, do the best I can, and whatever happens at the end of the year happens.

After the 2011 season, Buehrle will have made 84 million in his major league career. He has a 15 million vesting option for 2012 that kicks in if hes traded, and few teams will be willing to take on that kind of salary, although the pitching-weak New York Yankees certainly come to mind.

But if Buehrle becomes a free agent, he says he wont play just anywhere.

If the White Sox dont want to sign me back after this year and some team (wants me) that Im not a fan of, or dont want to play for, or its too far from home, Im not going to go play just to make money. Its going to have to be the right spot, the right fit for my family.

The thought of Buehrle wearing something other than a White Sox uniform could send many Sox fans into a panic - or at the very least, a therapists office. But hes already compiled a small list of teams hed play for in his head.

Obviously, St. Louis would be there. Im not going to throw teams out (publicly) because obviously at the end of your career, youre going to want to go to a team that can win. Youre not going to go to a team thats rebuilding. Right now I cant pinpoint how many teams. I know there are teams in my head that I will not go to, no matter how much money or what the situation is.

Considering the rivalry the Sox have with a certain team on the North Side of town, I had to ask if he was referring to the Cubs.

Im not saying any names. Im not throwing any cities, any towns, anything out there, but I have a few teams on my mind that I would go play for and theres a few teams I wouldnt play for.

At this point I mentioned to Mark that if he did actually sign with the Cubs, there would be major concern about the mental well being of many White Sox fans.

I could see that. I dont know if I could get up for that many day games. Im not a morning person. Spring training is about it. I need some sleep.

So rest easy South Siders. Youve got Buehrle for one more season. Maybe two. Maybe more.

And remember that once in a lifetime play he made last Opening Day? Behind the back, through the legs, into the hands of Paul Konerko?

Im going to try to top it this year, Buehrle predicted.

He was kidding.

But Buehrle sticking around? Thats no joke. Hes all in.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox sluggers Frank Thomas and Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.