The Cubs and Nats are interested in Mark Buehrle

10 Comments

Actually, a ton of teams will likely be interested in Mark Buehrle because he’s reliable as all get out and may be the best free agent pitching option on the market this year. But at the moment we’re at least getting reports of two clubs with more concrete interest: the Cubs and the Nationals.

According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs could have interest in Mark Buehrle “if the price tag and years aren’t astronomical.”  Which I suppose is relative. But if “astronomical” means something like “near the top of what any pitcher will make in free agency this year,” then no, the Cubs aren’t going to be interested. Buehrle won’t make CC Sabathia money, but he’s going to do well.

Likewise Adam Kigore of the Washington Post wrote yesterday that “some individuals with ties to the Nationals believe they will pursue Buehrle.”

Now is probably a good time to remember that, like the astronomical-or-not nature of Buehrle’s next contract, the term “concrete” when used in connection the hot stove season is relative as well.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

mlb
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
1 Comment

NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.