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: Nationals to interview Alex Cora for managerial position

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.

Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.

Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.