White Sox

White Sox will retire Mark Buehrle's number in June

White Sox will retire Mark Buehrle's number in June

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Mark Buehrle apparently has retired after all.

The longtime White Sox pitcher, who never officially called it quits, will have his No. 56 retired on June 24.

Buehrle, who won 161 games and completed at least 200 innings in 11 straight seasons for the White Sox, last pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015. The White Sox will honor their former ace — he's the 12th player in franchise history to have his number retired — before they host the Oakland A's at 1:10 p.m. in June.

Buehrle was a human highlight reel over his 12 seasons with the White Sox. Whether it was his fancy glovework, a perfect game, his no-hitter or recording a save in the 14th inning of Game 3 of the 2005 World Series, Buehrle was a South Side legend.

"Mark Buehrle is one of the most accomplished pitchers in franchise history," White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. "Mark carried himself with class and professionalism throughout his career, and his popularity with staff, teammates and Sox fans is very well deserved. Although a very humble person, he certainly showed a flair for the dramatic on the mound, from a no-hitter to an unforgettable perfect game to a World Series title. A standout on the field and a standup teammate in the clubhouse, it is our honor to retire Mark Buehrle’s No. 56 and to welcome him into the legendary class of all-time White Sox greats."

[RELATED: Ranking the five best games Mark Buehrle pitched with the White Sox]

The White Sox selected Buehrle in the 38th round of the 1998 amateur draft and he debuted in 2000, going 4-1 in 28 games (three starts). Buehrle also earned four All-Star nods while with the team (five overall) and was a three-time Rawlings Gold Glove winner (four overall). He also won two of three starts during the team's 2005 World Series run as the team snapped an 88-year championship drought.

"Mark is one of my favorite people and that is saying a lot," former manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He was the best teammate ever. Everyone loved this man. Everyone."

Buehrle signed a four-year, $58-million deal with the Miami Marlins ahead of the 2012 season and was later traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. He pitched 200 innings in 14 consecutive seasons before falling four outs shy of the feat in his final campaign (2015). Though Buehrle never officially retired, he hasn’t pursued pitching for another team since.

Pitching coach Don Cooper said he broached the subject with Buehrle last April, asking him if he wanted to try a comeback with the White Sox. But Cooper said he sensed that Buehrle was ready for retirement and to spend time with his family.

“There’s a text message from him and I sent it back and I said, ‘You want to come back?’” Cooper said. “He says something to the effect of, ‘You’ve got guys that outdo me now.’ I said ‘I’m not so sure about that.’ 

“We talk from time to time and I think now he’s enjoying his retirement, enjoying his family, his kids, which are important to him, enjoying his house, his farm, his hunting, all of that staff. Obviously we wish him all nothing but the best.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: White Sox 'trying to change the conversation' at the Winter Meetings

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: White Sox 'trying to change the conversation' at the Winter Meetings

New Hall of Fame writer Jayson Stark from The Athletic says the White Sox could make a huge bet on Harper or Machado this winter (0:36).

What about the Ivan Nova trade and their reported interested in catcher Yasmani Grandal? (2:01) Rick Hahn talks about the White Sox catcher situation (6:28).

Chuck Garfien interviews manager Rick Renteria about Machado’s Johnny Hustle comments, Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada possibly playing third base next season (9:09). Chuck also talks to free agent outfielder Adam Jones about his fit with the White Sox, Machado and more (17:43).

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

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With Ivan Nova aboard, where do White Sox go to fill other hole in starting rotation?

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USA TODAY

With Ivan Nova aboard, where do White Sox go to fill other hole in starting rotation?

LAS VEGAS — The White Sox still have a hole to fill in the starting rotation, so it's no surprise that Rick Hahn said Tuesday's trade for Ivan Nova doesn't mean the end of the team's shopping for starting pitching this winter.

"It doesn’t preclude us from going out and continuing to add to the rotation if we find the right fit," Hahn said. "But this was an important get in terms of helping stabilize the rotation, fill up some innings and take some pressure off the young guys."

Nova makes four, joining Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito on the White Sox starting staff, which will number five by the time Opening Day rolls around. What that fifth piece will look like is anyone's guess and, unsurprisingly, there are numerous ways the team can go to fill that void. Nova fits the one-year fill-in mold, as the team waits on Michael Kopech to recover from Tommy John surgery and for Dylan Cease to develop in the minor leagues. Nova also provides a veteran presence and a mentor to younger players, much the role that James Shields played in 2019.

The White Sox could stand pat, though that seems unlikely with some relatively unappealing internal options, minor leaguers like Jordan Stephens and Manny Banuelos or a guy White Sox fans have seen a lot of in recent years, Dylan Covey. Hahn said the team would be fine with that result but said they'll keep looking around.

"If we wind up in that spot, yeah. You can probably even add to that group with the inevitable non-roster invite or two that might be a bit of a reclamation project that could fit into that group, as well," he said. "But if this is how we go to camp, we'll be all right with that. At the same time, we're going to continue to talk to a few starters out there and see how that market unfolds."

If the White Sox want to double down on the one-year fill-in strategy, simply playing the waiting game with their starting rotation in 2019, there's no shortage of options, with one being floated Tuesday.

You could point to reports earlier this offseason connecting the White Sox to Happ, so perhaps they fall into the category of teams interested in both Happ and Lynn. But this is the first we're hearing of the White Sox and Lynn, who pitched with the division-rival Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees last season, putting up a 4.77 ERA in 156.2 innings. Lynn is still only 31, though he's been playing major league ball for seven years, with a 3.57 career ERA. He put up good numbers as recently as 2017, when he finished with a 3.43 ERA and made an NL-best 33 starts for the St. Louis Cardinals. He's averaged 31 starts and 185 innings a season since the beginning of 2012. That seems to fit much of the criteria the White Sox are looking for in a veteran starting pitcher.

The third option in crossing this item off the offseason to-do list is to bring in a higher caliber of pitcher on a longer-term deal or via trade. There aren't many of those kinds of pitchers on the free-agent market. Patrick Corbin already signed with the Washington Nationals, and the White Sox, for all their aggressiveness, have not been at all tied to Dallas Keuchel. A trade for a top-of-the-rotation type pitcher would figure to cost an awful lot in prospect capital.

And so with internal options potentially looking less than ideal and the big names perhaps costing a bit too much, maybe another addition like Nova is on the horizon. Certainly Hahn admitted that this isn't the end of this type of move ahead of 2019.

"This isn’t the last one you are going to see like this," he said. "In keeping with the general theme of what we are trying to accomplish, yes we remain very true to the long-term vision here. Part of that vision is not compromising our economic flexibility going forward so it’s at our disposal when the time is right and we are truly in a position to win.

"In the interim you are going to see moves that round out this roster that help make us better in the short term and potentially has a longer lasting impact on some of the other players. But also obviously allows us to form a club out there that helps continue the process again as to where we want to be."

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