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Mark Buehrle may prefer the National League

Nov 4, 2011, 11:35 AM EST

Mark Buehrle Getty Images

Ken Rosenthal spoke to Mark Buerle’s agent who said that all teams are on the table for his free agent client this winter but that he may prefer the National League:

“Mark is not going to eliminate any team from free-agent consideration. But having pitched 12 years in the American League, the National League certainly will have some appeal to him. There is no DH. It’s obviously less of a hitter’s league. And Mark has had great success in his career against the National League.”

Yup. He has pitched well in the NL, going 24-6 with a 3.32 ERA against the senior circuit over the course of his career.  Of course, one has to acknowledge that he has had a lot of chances to pitch against a lot of weak offenses in the AL Central these past few years too, so it’s not like we can expect some sudden transformation if he were to join an NL team.  Heck, it may be harder for him if he went to the NL East.

  1. Nick C - Nov 4, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    Craig – A quick look at the runs scored for teams last year kind of destroys your assertion that the NL East is tougher for pitchers than the AL Central. To wit:

    AL CENTRAL:

    Team Runs AL Rank MLB Rank
    Tigers 787 4 4
    Royals 730 6 10
    Indians 704 9 16
    Twins 619 13 25

    NL EAST:
    NL Rank
    Mets 718 6 12
    Phils 713 7 13
    Braves 641 10 22
    Marlins 625 11 23
    Nats 624 12 24

    Maybe you meant the NL Central would be tougher:

    NL CENTRAL

    Cards 762 1 5
    Reds 735 2 7
    Brewers 721 5 11
    Cubs 654 8 19
    Astros 615 13 26
    Pirates 610 14 27

    • prionogenic - Nov 4, 2011 at 12:35 PM

      Runs scored by each team is not a good measure of the quality of the opposition. If all the NL Central teams play each other and beat up on each other’s starters then they’ll score a lot of runs, but that doesn’t mean the line-ups are better in the NL Central just that the pitching is worse. In the NL East, teams play a lot of games against good pitching, hitters face a lot of Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Tommy Hansen, Jair Jurrgens, and Tim Hudson.

      For comparison sake:

      Team, Team ERA, Rank
      NL East
      PHL 3.02 1
      ATL 3.48 4
      WSH 3.58 7
      FLA 3.95 16
      NYM 4.19 21

      AL Central
      DET 4.04 18
      CHW 4.10 19
      CLE 4.23 23
      KC 4.44 27
      MIN 4.58 29

      NL Central
      MIL 3.63 9
      STL 3.74 12
      PIT 4.04 17
      CIN 4.16 20
      CHC 4.33 25
      COL 4.43 26
      HOU 4.51 28

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 4, 2011 at 12:45 PM

        Strausbionic version 2012 will be back to destroy bats as well, along with some guy named Santana who can’t play guitar, but also is known to shred. 2012 is going to be a tough place to hit in for the NL east.

      • spudchukar - Nov 4, 2011 at 2:04 PM

        Did I miss something? When did Colorado move to the NL central?

      • Nick C - Nov 4, 2011 at 2:31 PM

        Or maybe the ERA’s are inflated because of the good offenses in the division? Chicken/Egg argument here. I realize that there is some very good pitching in the NL East but I don’t think anyone would take a single offense in the NL East over any of the top 3 offenses in the NL Central. Just eyeballing the numbers the Cards, Reds and Brewers all hit close to their seasonal averages against the NL East:

        http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/hpAH4

        http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/EQ60a

        http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/u6gkh

  2. Jonny 5 - Nov 4, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    He also prefers Dogs to Bears.

  3. tophermike - Nov 4, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    sounds like we should make him a Redbird. he has a massive house here (in the same neighborhood as his brother’s and mother’s) and is already active in our community.

    Wainwright-Carp-Buerhle would make a nice 1-2-3. Not to mention Shelby Miller is coming soon…

    • umrguy42 - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:13 PM

      If they can’t sign Pujols (*shudders at the thought*) they should DEFINITELY make a hard push for Buehrle.

      • spudchukar - Nov 4, 2011 at 2:06 PM

        With or without Pujols they should make a push for Buehrle, and Reyes, and Sizemore.

  4. yankeesgameday - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    He just wants to hit.

  5. Kyle - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    I don’t think there’s a single free-agent pitcher who wouldn’t prefer the NL over the AL, all things being equal.

  6. paperlions - Nov 4, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    As currently compose, there isn’t a single NL east team with a good lineup….not one.

  7. Chris K - Nov 4, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    He’d fill out Washington’s rotation nicely

  8. Old Gator - Nov 5, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    I think Buehrle prefers the NL because that’s where real baseball is still played. If he were a broken down but otherwise muscle-bound nearly former outfielder with piano-wired knees, you could understand why he would prefer the designatedhitterball league.

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