UPDATE: Marlins the current favorites to land Buehrle

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6:30 p.m. EDT update: CSN Chicago’s Chuck Garfien has the Marlins as the favorites to land Buehrle, a scenario that would reunite the left-hander with his former manager in Chicago, Ozzie Guillen. The Rangers and Nationals remain in the mix, and a return to the White Sox still hasn’t been ruled out.

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The hot stove is finally starting to heat up.

According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, three teams have made substantial three-year offers to free agent left-hander Mark Buehrle and an agreement could happen “quickly this week.”

The Nationals, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Marlins, Twins, Rangers, Yankees, Royals, Cardinals and Red Sox have all been linked to the veteran southpaw since free agency began, but Cowley has not been told where exactly the three-year proposals came from.

Buehrle, 32, posted a rock-solid 3.59 ERA in 31 starts this year for the White Sox and boasts a 3.87 ERA over his past seven seasons. He’s topped 200 innings pitched each year since 2001.

Buehrle is said to be demanding a no-trade clause and likely has enough leverage to hold out for one.

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

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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%.