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Monday, October 31, 2011
All remains quiet on Buehrle front

By Doug Padilla

Mark Buehrle and Paul Konerko
The White Sox are expected to stick with the Paul Konerko plan in trying to re-sign Mark Buehrle.
CHICAGO -- Nearly halfway through the exclusive negotiating period with free-agent pitcher Mark Buehrle there is no progress to report, and that’s the way the Chicago White Sox have planned it.
Buehrle was among four White Sox players to officially file for free agency along with Juan Pierre, Ramon Castro and Omar Vizquel.

The White Sox’s plan is to let other teams set the market for Buehrle and then decide if they can fit the veteran pitcher into a tight budget. Free agents are open to negotiate with other teams at 11 p.m. (CST) Wednesday.

Despite the fact that the White Sox aren’t expected to reach a deal in the upcoming days, indications are that Buehrle could end up being the only one of the club’s free agents that will be pursued by the team.

The White Sox are expected to follow the plan that led to the re-signing of Paul Konerko last offseason. Konerko received offers from other clubs and was close to signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks before the White Sox moved in and brought back their captain during the December winter meetings.

There are two main issues that will make the Buehrle pursuit far more difficult that the one that led to bringing back Konerko.

  • Because nearly all of the major-market teams with money to spend were set at first base, Konerko didn’t have as many pursuers as Buehrle is expected to have.

  • Where the White Sox were taking a risk by adding to the payroll last winter, they will try to lower it this time around.