4:50 p.m. EST update: Ken Rosenthal says Buerhle is going to the Marlins — four years, $58 million.
3:10 p.m. EST update: ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Nationals are another one of the three finalists for Buehrle, joining the Marlins. Several clubs believe the Rangers are the third. That would leave the Cardinals out of the mix, but the Cardinals weren’t likely to have the money for both he and Albert Pujols anyway.
Mark Buehrle’s list of potential destinations has dropped from five to three, and while the puzzle is still missing a few pieces, Juan Rodriguez of The Sun-Sentinel has confirmed that the Marlins are one of them.
The Nationals, Cardinals and Rangers have also been looked at as strong contenders for Buehrle, while the Angels now appear to have turned their attention towards C.J. Wilson. A return to the White Sox appears highly unlikely.
The 32-year-old Buehrle is seeking a four-year deal worth approximately $14 million per year. A lifetime 161-119 pitcher, he’ll bring a streak of 11 straight seasons with at least 200 innings pitched to his new team.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.