Mark Buehrle made his second-to-last start of the season last night, picking up the victory with six innings of two-run ball against the Indians, but before taking the mound the impending free agent talked about his uncertain future.
Buehrle is coming to the end of a four-year, $52 million contract and the 32-year-old southpaw is having a typically solid season, but he hasn’t even decided if he’ll pitch at all in 2012, let alone whether he’ll re-sign with the White Sox:
It all depends on what the White Sox want to do. They spent a lot of money this year, and we didn’t do a good job of getting where we want to get to. It all depends on what they want to do. If they want to go young and sign some young guys and got some guys in the bullpen they want to start, then they’ll go that route. But it’s on them.
As for making possibly his final home start for the White Sox next week, Buehrle told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune: “I’m going out there like I’m coming back next year and not try to make a big deal of it.”
After watching him for the past 12 seasons fans at Comiskey Park may feel differently.
Mike Trout may not win another MVP award, because Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays had a great season and voters seem to be leaning his way, but the Angels center fielder just completed his fourth MVP-caliber campaign in four full seasons as a major leaguer.
Trout has now either won the MVP or (presumably) finished runner-up at age 20, age 21, age 22, and age 23. And there were certainly cases to be made that he was deserving of all four MVP awards. It’s been an incredible start to a career. But how incredible?
Here are the all-time leaders in Wins Above Replacement through age 23:
37.6 – Mike Trout
36.0 – Ty Cobb
34.2 – Ted Williams
31.4 – Mel Ott
30.1 – Ken Griffey Jr.
29.7 – Mickey Mantle
27.7 – Alex Rodriguez
27.5 – Al Kaline
26.7 – Arky Vaughan
26.5 – Rogers Hornsby
I mean, just look at the 10 names on that list. Ridiculous, and Trout sits atop all of them.
Trout has been the subject of intense MVP-related debates in three of his four seasons, but regardless of which side of that coin you favor don’t let it obscure the fact that we’re witnessing something truly special here. There’s certainly room to quibble with the exact rankings–WAR is merely one prominent and easy way to do such things–but however you slice it Trout has been one of the best handful of players in the history of baseball through age 23.
Last week impending free agent Chris Davis expressed frustration that the Orioles had not approached him about a contract extension during the season, pointing out that the team had previously locked up other players like J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones mid-season.
Now that the season is over and Davis had another monster year Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun that re-signing Davis is “a top priority” and added:
He’s had a great year and he’s been a great player for us, so obviously, we’d like to have him back. Whether we can do that in the market, that remains to be seen, but we’re going to try.
Davis is 29 years old, has some defensive versatility, and has led the league in homers in two of the past three seasons while posting an .891 OPS during that time. He’s going to get plenty of huge multi-year offers and based on some of Duquette’s other quotes within Encina’s article it sure sounds like the Orioles are preparing for life without him.