Tag: Mark Buehrle

Toronto Blue Jays Pitcher Mark Buehrle Making Early Case for All-Star Selection

One month into the 2014 season, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle has emerged not only as the best pitcher on the team’s rotation, but also as one of the best starters in the American League.

In fact, it’s not too much of a stretch to say that Buehrle’s performance so far has put him in the conversation for a selection to the All-Star Game.  

Yes, you heard that right.

This is the same Mark Buehrle who has developed a reputation across the league of being consistent but mediocre throughout his career.

The consistency comes from the fact that the 35-year-old has put together a stretch of 13 straight seasons in which he’s had at least 10 wins and 200 innings pitched each season.

The mediocrity label many are quick to tab Buehrle with comes as a result of his career 3.84 ERA over those last 13 seasons.

But this year has been different, as Buehrle has gone 6-1 in his first seven starts while posting a 1.91 ERA. He’s walked just 12 hitters in 47 innings pitched and has surrendered only one home run during that span.

The six wins are the highest for any pitcher in the American League, while the 1.91 ERA ranks Buehrle second in the AL among all pitchers who have made at least seven starts.

The amazing part about this performance is that Buehrle hasn’t suddenly pulled a “Bartolo Colon” by beginning to throw harder with age.

His fastball tops out at 85 mph and the rest of his pitches are all soft. But the left-hander’s pinpoint command and knack for making the right pitch at the right time end up negating the lack of velocity.

Indeed, opposing hitters are sometimes so confused by the deceptive Buehrle that they end up swinging late—late!—on his mid-80s fastballs.

Another surprising fact about Buehrle’s torrid start to the 2014 season is that he’s been a notoriously slow starter in the past. It was just last year when he posted a 6.35 ERA in April before going on to post an ERA under 4.00 during three of the next five months.

The Blue Jays have certainly benefitted from Buehrle’s early-season dominance, as the rest of the pitchers in Toronto’s rotation who have made five starts or more all currently have ERAs over 4.00 and have combined for just six wins.

If Buehrle can continue this pace or even perform at a level somewhere close to this, he should find himself at Target Field in July making his first All-Star appearance since the 2009 season.


*All stats are from baseball-reference.com

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5 Pitchers Who Could Be on the Move at the 2013 Trade Deadline

A lot of the names have remained the same. Scott Feldman, Matt Garza, Lucas Harrell, Ricky Nolasco and Bud Norris have been identified as trade candidates since the start of the season. Why? Because they’re pretty good starting pitchers on pretty bad teams. 

While those five remain strong candidates to be dealt by the July 31st deadline, there are sure to be some starters who will become trade targets because they are pitching better than expected and/or because their team’s aren’t in the playoff race.

Here are five of those pitchers who are likely to join Norris and co. on the trade block.  

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Toronto Blue Jays: What Would Be a Successful Season?

The Toronto Blue Jays finally get their much-anticipated season rolling today against the Cleveland Indians. And with that, the scrutiny will begin on whether or not drastically revamping the roster will result in a playoff spot.

Over the summer, the team added numerous pitchers, infielders and outfielders to create what many think is the best roster in the American League East. And quite possibly one of the best in Major League Baseball.

Adding reigning National League Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, World Series champion Mark Buehrle and 2011 NL batting champ Jose Reyes, among others, adds a lot of pedigree to the team. But how will this influx of talent translate for the Blue Jays?

With all the hype the team is receiving, and the expectations many fans have, the team is going to have to do very well for people to see this season as an accomplishment.

There is no doubt the team is great on paper. And compared to previous years, it has the depth to handle a few injuries throughout the year.

But what will make the 2013 season a success?

First and foremost, it is important to have realistic expectations. Blue Jays fans hope to see their team in the World Series, but let’s take small steps to get to that goal.

The first step in getting there: making the playoffs.

As we saw last year, the Blue Jays were able to put together a great spring training (24-7-1), which led to the idea they were ready to make a push for a playoff spot. Ultimately, that did not happen and everyone was disappointed.

The same thing is happening this year.

Everyone is expecting a guaranteed playoff spot and a push to the World Series. It may happen, but are we just setting ourselves up for failure? Should the goals of the team, and the fans, be to just make the playoffs?

Buehrle realizes the Blue Jays are a very strong team but also need to go out there and prove it, he told Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star last week. 

This team, I think, is better (than the ’05 White Sox) on paper, but again we have to go out there and play 162 games and try and get to the postseason. If you asked me in spring training ’05 and now, on paper, I think this team’s better.

Most importantly, Buehrle knows that making the postseason is the number one goal. Coming from a veteran guy who has made it there before, he knows what he is talking about.

The Blue Jays have the team, the talent and the capability to be able to do damage in the American League. They have the arms and the bats to be really dangerous. And when both are on, the Blue Jays could be lethal.

But, like last year, the team and fans have created such high hopes. As good as it is for baseball in Toronto, it may not be fair to the team by the end of the season.

The Blue Jays seem like a lock to make the playoffs. Even though nothing in baseball is guaranteed, that is about as far as we should peg them. Once they are able to get there, then the talk can begin about winning the World Series.

If the team is able to make the playoffs, everyone should be happy. Considering the Blue Jays have not made the playoffs in the last 20 years, doing that is a great accomplishment. Making it to the postseason should be the meter of success.   

Anything more than that, is an added bonus.



Is it World Series or bust for the Blue Jays this season? Share what you think below.


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The Miami Marlins’ Biggest Issues Emerging from Spring Training

For a team that’s probably going to finish last in the National League East for the third consecutive year, the Miami Marlins don’t have many issues thus far. 

Ricky Nolasco has already been named the Opening Day starter—shocking. Jacob Turner, Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez are still slated to follow Nolasco while Wade LeBlanc continues to make his case to be the team’s No. 5 starter after throwing four shutout innings Sunday against the Atlanta Braves

Among position players, second baseman Donovan Solano has hit .480 in 25 at-bats and Casey Kotchman is batting .435 in 23 at-bats. Kotchman is trying to win a spot on the team which, in his case, comes with the designation of starting first baseman if Logan Morrison isn’t ready when the season begins.

According to Morrison’s agent, Fred Wray, Morrison could be playing by April 15 after having surgery to repair a torn patella tendon in his right knee.

Meanwhile, with Team USA at the World Baseball Classic, slugging outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is hitless in seven at-bats, but he’s broken a windshield with a home run during batting practice.

Stanton’s teammate, closer Steve Cishek has two scoreless appearances, which includes the biggest out of Sunday’s 9-4 win against Canada when Cishek induced Tim Smith to ground out to second baseman Brandon Phillips to end the eighth inning with the bases loaded while preserving a one-run lead.

And as far as the kiddies go, they have impressed as well. Future ace Jose Fernandez struck out two in two scoreless innings in his only spring training appearance while the Marlins’ other star prospect, Christian Yelich, has been scorching hot as he’s batted .375 with three home runs and 11 RBI in 32 at-bats. Yelich has been so good, it’s prompted first-year manager Mike Redmond to sing his praises to MLB.com:

I’ll tell you, man, I love putting him in that lineup. Every opportunity I have to put him in there, I get him in there. He gives you a great at-bat. It doesn’t matter who he faces. Believe me, we go around and around [on where he’ll start the season]. That’s something that we’ll have to talk about.

But not everything has been rosy with the Marlins…

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MLB Trade Rumors: R.A. Dickey Trade Would Solidify Toronto Blue Jays’ Chances

It would appear the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets have agreed on players for an R.A. Dickey trade, but according to Jon Heyman of CBS, stranger things have happened than a trade like this falling through. 

But should this deal go through, Dickey will be the final addition to a Blue Jays squad that catapulted itself into a playoff contender. 

The key Toronto player involved in this trade is top prospect Travis d’Arnaud

If you’re not familiar with who he is, d’Arnaud was the cog when the Blue Jays traded Roy Halladay in December 2009. 

Last season he hit .333/.380/.595 in an injury-shortened season. But regardless, he is in fact scheduled to make his MLB debut in 2013, and he seems to have all the tools necessary to make for a solid big league catcher. 

R.A. Dickey is the reigning NL Cy Young winner, and at 38, it’s difficult to tell whether his knuckle ball will continue to break over the plane of the plate for seasons to come.

But alas, there’s no reason to believe it won’t because 2012 wasn’t Dickey’s only quality season. 

Since 2010, Dickey’s had a record of 39-28 and an ERA of 2.95 in 616.2 innings pitched. Not to mention he’s the proud owner of a 1.15 WHIP and two consecutive 200-plus-inning seasons. 

In hindsight, the Blue Jays made it seem as though they were looking for a fifth starter. The misconception, though, was that the pitcher was to be a fifth-in-the-order calibre pitcher. In Dickey, Toronto is on the verge of snagging an ace. 


Although the Blue Jays have lost blue chippers Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino and now possibly Anthony Gose and Travis d’Arnaud, this is a case where they have to take risks to win games. 

With the Boston Red Sox trying to sort things out and the New York Yankees getting old and creaky, the time for Toronto to spend money is now. 

Not only do they have a mixed dynamic of power and speed in the batting order, but in Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero and possibly Dickey, Toronto has a chance to win every time one of those pitchers take the mound. 

Assuming the team stays healthy and plays consistently, they will be tough to beat. And although the odds are already in their favor, the only thing left to do is go out and play. 

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Miami Marlins Raise Ethical Issues by Reportedly Breaking No-Trade Promises

It turns out those despondent Miami Marlins fans feeling betrayed have company.

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, both shortstop Jose Reyes and pitcher Mark Buehrle are angry with the franchise after being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. Though nothing was formally in writing, Rosenthal is reporting that both men had a verbal agreement with the Marlins that said they would not be traded.

Via Fox Sports:

Shortstop Jose Reyes and left-hander Mark Buehrle, two of the five Marlins headed to Toronto in a pending blockbuster, are upset that the team broke verbal promises to them regarding trades, according to major-league sources.

As it stands, the Marlins have a team policy against no-trade clauses, so they were not contractually obligated to keep the two players. Nevertheless, this opens up yet another can of ethical issues in a week full of them for Miami owner Jeffrey Loria. 

First and foremost, Reyes’ and Buehrle’s frustration cannot come as a surprise. Supposedly acquired to usher in a new era of Miami baseball, the stars were exiled to Toronto on Tuesday after just one disappointing season.

While it’s easy to understand Reyes’ and Buehrle’s perspective and to vilify Loria, it’s also a little hard to feel sorry for either player. Both men took above-their-worth contracts from a desperate franchise looking to make a splash.

That splash wound up being a season filled to the brim with disappointment. The high-priced team went just 69-93, drew mediocre attendance that ranked 18th in Major League Baseball and featured a manager who started his tenure with mass controversy.


If you’re looking for a reason this roster is depleted, look no further than those three areas. 

Let’s also not act like Reyes and Buehrle are wide-eyed schoolchildren who had no idea whom they were getting involved with. The Marlins have gone on one-year spending sprees followed by roster purges in the past, most notably after winning the World Series in 1997. 

While that was with a different ownership group, it goes without saying that Loria’s time with the Montreal Expos speaks for itself. 

The lesson here, as always, is to get exactly what you want in writing. If Reyes and Buehrle loved Miami so much and wanted to stay for the duration of their contract, they should have told their agents to refuse to sign until a no-trade clause was added.

Instead, the Marlins were in no way obligated to keep their word, they didn’t, and now we have one of the uglier messes in recent baseball history on our hands. 

In Loria’s business dealings, evidently, spoken promises can be broken. It seems that Marlins fans, the city of Miami and these two players are just finding that out the hard way. 


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Jeffrey Loria Has Let Down Miami and Marlins Fans Shouldn’t Take It Anymore

Jeffrey Loria is the worst.

The owner of the Miami Marlins has orchestrated another fire sale of his roster, reportedly jettisoning high-priced starting pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle to the Toronto Blue Jays along with catcher John Buck, outfielder Emilio Bonifacio and high-priced superstar shortstop Jose Reyes for what amounts to a sack of baseballs and a few Fungo bats.

Loria duped Marlins fans into believing his team could be a contender as he opened his new stadium last season. After seeing the roster now, why would any of them trust him again? More importantly, why would anyone ever pay one dollar to line his pockets with money after this latest move?

The fans were used by the Marlins ownership. How can anyone support this unbelievable level of deceit?

Things looked so promising last year. After a very public flirtation with Albert Pujols, Marlins fans settled for only getting the likes of Buerhle and Reyes, a clear sign the newly branded Miami franchise had every intention of creating a contender. In September the Marlins announced the hiring of manager Ozzie Guillen. In December, Buehrle was signed to a four-year deal, Reyes was signed for six years and reliever Heath Bell was inked for three.

Less than 12 months later, they are all gone, and Marlins fans are left with a brand new stadium and very little talent to play in it.

Loria couldn’t even give his fans a single year of hope. Heck, he couldn‘t even give them a single season. The Marlins opened their new stadium last year thanks to millions of dollars in taxpayer money, and as soon as the team fell out of contention, the fire sale started and hasn’t stopped.

Miami traded Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante in late July, jettisoned Hanley Ramirez two days later and completed the in-season roster dump by sending Gaby Sanchez out of town just for the heck of it. The Marlins were out of contention at the time of the trades, sure, but these transactions made little sense in the grand scheme of Miami’s new plan—unless another shoe was going to drop in the offseason.

All the shoes just dropped.

After seeing Loria unload all his remaining high-priced talent to the Blue Jays, it was clear the moves of Sanchez, Infante and Ramirez were nothing more than the pre-sale before the liquidation. Maybe we should consider this a pre-Black Friday sale. Everything must go!

Fans should have seen this coming (no, really), but a new stadium has invigorated so many baseball towns that it seemed plausible Loria would use the new-found interest in the team to reinvest in the product on the field.

The question Marlins fans should now be asking is whether Loria had planned this all along. Was the fire sale planned all along, using the big-name players as a payoff to getting the stadium built last season with no intention of keeping them? Or was he spooked by the dwindling attendance during the second half of the season and realized the new park and big-ticket superstars would never be a big enough draw in South Florida?

Rather than threaten to move the team to Las Vegas or some other faraway town he could use to leverage that new stadium getting built, Loria may have planned this salary dump all along, cutting payroll and going with another group of young players with something to prove.

This trade almost makes sense when you look at it that way. If the new Marlins Park wasn’t going to be filled anyway, the best way for Loria to make a return on his investment would be to lower his payroll by tens of millions of dollars.

What about the return on the taxpayers’ investment? What about the fans’ investment? It’s left to the fans now; they need to stop showing up to send a message that this kind of ownership model is not acceptable.

Marlins fans need to show how fed up they are with being played by an owner to whom they’ve dedicated their time and money. Fans need to quit on the team completely.

Can there be a bigger statement than a completely empty stadium on Opening Day? Would Loria get the hint that fans are not OK with his model of building a team just to break it down every few years when nobody showed up?

The Marlins averaged just over 27,000 fans last season, filling Loria’s new playground to just over 73 percent capacity each game. Wouldn’t it be a better statement if none of them ever came back until Loria stopped pulling this nonsense (or sold the team to someone who actually respects the fans)? 

Maybe they should all become Blue Jays fans. That seems far more rewarding than rooting for the Miami Marlins now.

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Ranking, Grading the Top 10 Shocking Blockbuster Trades of the Last 10 Years

Two of the biggest sluggers in the game, Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton and Toronto’s Jose Bautista, give us a pretty accurate assessment of what the feelings of the players and fans in both cities are feeling after Tuesday night’s blockbuster deal that saw 12 players, including Jose Reyes, change hands.


On the heels of the blockbuster, what better time to take a look back at the past decade of blockbuster deals and see how those worked out for the teams involved?

I can’t think of one. We’ll grade the deals with the aid of retrospect, but rank them in terms of shock value.

Let’s get to it.

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Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2012: Pitchers You Don’t Want to Live Without

When building a fantasy rotation, you’re going to need to add depth, and the more you can add, the better you’ll be. Fortunately, you can do a lot of that with pitching, and these guys are some good ones to look at. Best of all is that any or all of these guys will probably be available to you. 


Mark Buehrle, Miami Marlins

The concern here is that Buehrle’s around the plate a lot, so he does surrender a lot of hits. But that’s really the only concern here. 

The hits are more than made up for by the fact that he hardly walks anybody, so the WHIP is greatly neutralized. On top of that, he does not allow a lot of run, so the ERA will be fine. 

Buehrle is pitching on a team that will give him plenty of chances to win games, and he throws a lot of innings, never logging fewer than 200 in a full season. That’s a good way to keep your staff ERA down, as it limits the damage caused by one run. 

On top of all of that, Buehrle is now in the National League, so he now gets the benefit of facing a pitcher instead of nine professional hitters. This is a good middle of the rotation guy that will make your team very deep in pitching. 

Dixon’s Projection’s 

207  226  47 88 13  118  3.83  1.32


R.A. Dickey, New York Mets

The drawback here is the Mets are just not a very good team, so the wins aren’t likely to be high. Still, pitching in Citi Field has done good things for Dickey, who has a 3.08 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in two years as a Met.

What a guy like Dickey will do is enable you to pick up pitchers that will win a lot of games but have inflated ERA’s, like guys on the Yankees or Red Sox. Dickey will be there to provide a good balance. 

Even with the fences moving in, there is no reason to think that Citi Field won’t still be a strong pitching park. The fact is that it’s hard to hit that knuckle ball, so a spacious stadium is good for the ERA. The strikeouts won’t be great, but won’t be terrible either. 

Dixon’s Projection’s 

205  198  52 78 13  129  3.42  1.22


Wade Davis, Tampa Bay Rays

Think of this is sort of a coupling move. I previously said Dickey would be valuable because you could then go for a guy on a good team that will win games but have a higher ERA and WHIP than you would like. Davis is that guy. 

The innings will be solid, which is always good. The walk totals won’t be high, which will neutralize a lot of hits. But the Rays will win a lot of games, which means Davis will win games. That’s just as valuable as any category in fantasy baseball. 

Dixon’s Projection’s 

186  181  63 81 15  127  3.92  1.31


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Miami Marlins: 5 Bold Predictions for the New-Look Marlins in 2012

It’s safe to say the new ballpark. In doing so, the Marlins ownership spent close to $200 million dollars on marquee free-agents such as Jose Reyes, Heath Bell.

The team also traded for Carlos Zambrano and are making a hard run at Cuban defector and Youtube sensation, Yoenis Cespedes.

After a whirlwind of an offseason, here are five bold predictions for these new-look Marlins.

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