Start up the Cardinals speculation: Mark Buehrle likes the idea of pitching in the NL

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Earlier this week impending free agent Mark Buehrle talked about his uncertain future with the White Sox and how he might even consider retiring at age 32, but yesterday he explained that moving to the National League intrigues him.

Buehrle is from Missouri and for years now there’s been speculation about him eventually ending up with the Cardinals, but his comments to Scott Merkin of MLB.com were about the NL in general:

It’s one of those things where it would be kind of an interesting challenge to switch leagues and see how the National League is. … You look at that part where you face guys that many times, it seems like the advantage switches over to them. Switching leagues where guys haven’t seen you as much, it might favor you.

It’s going to be sit back and see what happens. I’ve never been in this spot, so I don’t know if we are supposed to make calls or waiting for them kind of thing. I’m willing or wanting to play for a couple of more years. Whatever teams are out there, I’ll find a suburban place to live that’s comfortable for my family and go from there.

While not quite the innings eater he once was, Buehrle will likely top 200 innings for the 11th straight season and his ERA, strikeout rate, and strikeout-to-walk ratio this year are all nearly identical to his career numbers, so he should draw plenty of interest from teams looking to add a veteran starter atop the rotation.

St. Louis is one of the few teams that seems set with starters for 2012, as Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, Kyle Lohse, and a rehabbing Adam Wainwright are all under contract, but I’m guessing they’d find a way to fit in Buehrle if he wanted to give them a hometown discount.

Report: Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza from Rays in part of three-team deal

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Update (6:35 PM ET): This is a three-team deal also involving the Diamondbacks, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Diamondbacks will receive outfielder Steven Souza from the Rays and second baseman Brandon Drury will head to the Yankees. Lefty reliever Anthony Banda will go to the Rays, Piecoro adds. The Diamondbacks will also receive prospect Taylor Widener from the Yankees, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Souza, 28, is earning $3.55 million in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so the Rays are presumably saving money in moving him. Last season, Souza hit a productive .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 617 plate appearances. Souza’s arrival almost certainly pushes Yasmany Tomas out of a starting gig.

Drury, 25, has played a handful of positions in his brief major league career. Last year, he played second base in Arizona, batting .267/.317/.447 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI in 480 PA.

Banda, 24, made his major league debut last season, posting an ugly 5.96 ERA with a 25/10 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. The peripherals suggest he pitched better than his ERA indicated.

Widener, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. This past season with High-A Tampa, he pitched 119 1/3 innings and posted a 3.39 ERA with a 129/50 K/BB ratio. MLB Pipeline rated Widener as the 14th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system.

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Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that the Rays will acquire second base prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees. The Yankees’ return is presently not known.

Solak, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft. He spent last season between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, hitting a combined .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs, 53 RBI, 72 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.

MLB Pipeline ranked Solak as the eighth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system and the fifth-best second base prospect in baseball, praising him for his ability to hit line drives as well as his speed.