Mark Buehrle “will either retire or pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals”

Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP

Mark Buehrle shot down the early-October reports that he was planning to retire this winter, but the veteran free agent starter only has eyes for one club. Via Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun

Buehrle will either retire or pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals, his home town team.

Buehrle grew up in St. Charles, a western suburb of St. Louis, and he’s been linked to the Cardinals in both free agent and trade rumors throughout his 16-year major league career. Lance Lynn undergoing Tommy John surgery last week suddenly makes it a pretty perfect fit.

Buehrle, 36, registered a 3.81 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 198 2/3 innings this past season for the American League East-champion Blue Jays. It was the first time he had fallen short of the 200-inning mark since 2000.

Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, and Jaime Garcia are currently locked into rotation spots for the Cardinals for 2016. Top pitching prospect Alex Reyes was busted for marijuana use earlier this month.