9:38 AM CST, December 8, 2011
It was inevitable, but it still stinks.
It stunk Wednesday afternoon when it became official, and it stinks worse this morning because it makes you want to fire somebody.
Mark Buehrle signed with the Marlins. It’s not that Ozzie Guillen’s new team signed him away from Guillen’s last team, although that will get some nyah-nyah-nyah play.
No, it’s that one of the two most popular players on the South Side is gone from the White Sox. They didn’t have $58 million for him, they didn’t have it for four seasons, and they don’t get anything in exchange except for a solid piece of evidence in the case against Sox general manager Ken Williams.
I don’t begrudge Buehrle the money. Good for him. He has a chance to repay every bit of it in the National League, which is always where he seemed to be headed. That’s why we saw this coming.
But when it finally happened, it felt awful. I guess I was hoping for a Chairman Reinsdorf miracle the way it happened with Paul Konerko.
But no. Not happening. Not happening in large part because Jake Peavy, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios killed all hope last season and kill the payroll next season and for several seasons after that.
Talk about pain: The one Sox player who deserves Sox money as much as Konerko is gone because of those three thieves. Season tickets on sale now.
A guy the Sox need and a player the fans want has to leave while the pariahs stay. Thanks, Jake. Thanks, Adam. Thanks, Alex. Thanks, Ken.
An emailer suggested this is the Sox’s version of the Cubs’ losing Greg Maddux. Not exactly. Maddux had four more Cy Youngs to win when he left town. He was about to enter his prime, while Buehrle is at the end of his.
But I get the sentiment. One of the best pitchers in Sox history is history. A perfect game, a no-hitter, a save in that 14-inning World Series game, 30 starts, double-digit wins and two-hundred innings as reliable as a tweeting Guillen, Gold Gloves, a great teammate, a great ambassador for the franchise and the city.
The Sox say they are rebuilding, and that’s another reason this stinks. If you’re going to rebuild on the field and in the clubhouse, Buehrle is exactly the kind of professional and person you’d want on the field and in the clubhouse.
The Sox found Buehrle in the 38th round. They had no idea what they had. They had no idea what they would get.
Now, though, the Sox know they just lost a great thing. They know they lost one of the last links to their World Series title. They also might know they lost the best reason to change the GM.
But that’s later. We’ll fire Williams if his idea of rebuilding turns out worse than Dunn. Or Rios. Or Peavy.
Meantime, Buehrle leaves a lot of highlights --- great plays, great accomplishments, great memories.
See ya at the statue unveiling.
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