White Sox

Why Mark Buehrle thinks getting his jersey retired ‘doesn’t really make sense’

Why Mark Buehrle thinks getting his jersey retired ‘doesn’t really make sense’

CSN's coverage of Mark Buehrle Day will begin at 12:30 p.m. and can be live streamed on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

On Saturday, Mark Buehrle will become the 11th player in White Sox history to have his number retired, joining a select group of players who are synonymous with baseball on 35th and Shields. 

Nellie Fox. Harold Baines. Luke Appling. Minnie Minoso. Luis Aparicio. Paul Konerko. Ted Lyons. Billy Pierce. Frank Thomas. Carlton Fisk. And, beginning Saturday, Buehrle’s No. 56 will be never be worn again, instead enshrined between a pair of Hall of Famers in Thomas and Fisk.

“It doesn't really make sense, to be honest with you,” Buehrle said. “Trying to wrap my head around it -- I watched Frank Thomas as a kid growing up and even when I came here and played with him, I couldn't believe it. I’m, like, a fan of Frank Thomas, who's right there. It just doesn't make sense that I'm up there with those guys, Again, I went out there and tried to do what I could do every day and had fun with it and obviously had a good, long successful career. And now here we are getting my number retired. I can't really explain it. It's pretty hard.”

Buehrle is one of only three pitchers to have his number retired by the White Sox, joining Lyons (the franchise leader in wins) and Pierce (the franchise leader in strikeouts). Buehrle won 161 games in 12 seasons with the White Sox, threw a no-hitter and a perfect game, saved Game 3 of the World Series and never threw fewer than 200 innings in a season after his 2000 debut. 

While he didn’t seek out the spotlight, Buehrle’s consistency — plus those historic moments and a few tarp dives mixed in — made No. 56 one of the White Sox most popular players during his time in Chicago. He was well-liked by his teammates and coaches, too, after working his way from being a 38th round draft pick to becoming a five-time All-Star in his career. 

“I think that's one of the best compliments I can get, people liking me,” Buehrle said. “I wanted to be liked by everybody. I had fun at the field, tried to stay loose, try to joke around with guys. 

“I think at the end of the day I'm just a normal dude who was fortunate to play professional baseball and play that long and be healthy.”

Part of Buehrle’s sense of disbelief over his jersey retirement is that he’s only 38 and pitched his last game 21 months ago. While he’s enjoying life after baseball — and is playing first base and hitting cleanup for his beer league softball team — he’s not that far removed from it, unlike even Frank Thomas, who last played nine years ago. 

“I was just a kid playing baseball, little leagues a few years back, and here I am getting my number retired,” Buehrle said. “It’s hard to soak it all in and figure it out.”

Don’t expect Buehrle’s address to the crowd at Guaranteed Rate Field Saturday to go long — just like his starts here — as he said he a “complete disaster” emotionally thinking about the pregame ceremony. His nine-year-old son, Braden, will sing the national anthem and his eight-year-old daughter, Brooklyn, will throw out the first pitch, though Buehrle said he won’t be nervous for those moments since his speech will be over with. It's a moment that'll be special for him and his wife, Jamie. 

But Saturday’s festivities weren’t something Buehrle was expecting when he debuted with the White Sox on July 16, 2000 — or even when he last started for the franchise on Sept. 27, 2011. 

“You don’t think of getting numbers retired or any stuff like this,” Buehrle said. “You just go out there and play the game and the numbers take care of themselves. I knew I would come back but not for something like this, no. No chance.”

White Sox being linked to Nomar Mazara trade talks with Rangers

White Sox being linked to Nomar Mazara trade talks with Rangers

The White Sox have two major needs in their lineup: a left-handed bat and a right fielder. They are reportedly in trade talks to fill both holes with one player.

Jim Bowden first reported that the White Sox are in trade talks with the Texas Rangers for outfielder Nomar Mazara. Others have since confirmed the report. There appears to be some real smoke with this one.

Working with the premise that these trade talks are happening, let’s take a look at what Mazara would bring to the White Sox.

For starters, he plays right field and is a left-handed bat. The White Sox don’t have much in the way of left-handers in the lineup. Zack Collins is a lefty, but his place in the lineup is far from secure. After that it’s switch-hitters Yoan Moncada, Leury Garcia and now Yasmani Grandal. Mazara is a lefty who had an .844 OPS against right-handers last season.

On top of that, he’s 24 years old so that part lines up with what the White Sox are trying to build in terms of having young pieces on the roster. Mazara debuted in 2016 so he hits free agency after 2021.

Mazara is a below average defender according to defensive metrics and his offensive numbers don’t stand out. Considering his age, it’s plausible to think he gets better though.

He has a career .754 OPS, including a career-best .786 OPS last season. Mazara hit .268/.318/.469 last year in 116 games. That’s decent production, but not eye-popping.

Mazara hit exactly 20 home runs in each of his first three seasons and then hit 19 last season (albeit in less playing time). He also blasted a mammoth 505-foot home run off of Reynaldo Lopez on June 22.

He mashed against the White Sox last year with three home runs in three games. Mazara has a 1.016 OPS against the White Sox in 91 plate appearances. Maybe the White Sox have been impressed and want to bring him on board.

Maybe Mazara is a change-of-scenery candidate that can breakthrough after leaving Texas. He also likely wouldn’t cost the White Sox one of their untouchable prospects like Andrew Vaughn, for example. It wouldn’t be a show-stopping move from the White Sox, but it would fill two holes while also having some upside.

The Rangers have an excess of outfielders and the White Sox are looking for one. It’s a logical move that has been discussed here before. The Cardinals are in the same boat as the White Sox, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted on Tuesday, so there could be competition for Mazara.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

White Sox reportedly interested in reliever Craig Stammen

White Sox reportedly interested in reliever Craig Stammen

For all the talk of the White Sox getting starting pitching help this winter, talk of the bullpen has been secondary.

Here’s a rumor connecting the White Sox to right-hander Craig Stammen.

Stammen has been with the San Diego Padres the last three years and was effective in his tenure in Southern California. He had a 3.06 ERA in 209 appearances with 235 strikeouts, 60 walks and 213 hits allowed. Last season was a similarly effective 3.29 ERA with 73 strikeouts, 15 walks and 80 hits allowed in 82 innings.

Stammen’s resume has been solid since moving from a starting role to the bullpen full-time in 2012 with the Washington Nationals. He has a 2.93 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in his career as a reliever.

On paper, he would be a solid addition to the bullpen. The interesting thing about the rumor is that Stammen will turn 36 in spring training. He hasn’t shown any signs of declining yet, but he doesn’t line up with the White Sox long-term view of their contention window. That said, bullpens turnover quickly so it’s not entirely reasonable to plan a bullpen for three years from now.

The top three right-handers in the 2019 White Sox bullpen in terms of appearances were Alex Colome, Kelvin Herrera and Evan Marshall. Colome was solid as the team’s closer and Marshall was surprisingly effective, but Herrera struggled.

Herrera was last year’s big free-agent signing for the bullpen and is under contract for $8,500,000 in 2020. He had a 6.14 ERA and batters hit .288 against him in 51.1 innings last season.

Stammen could be what the White Sox were hoping Herrera would be when they signed him last year. He’s older, but has a better track record. It wouldn’t be a flashy high-priced pitcher to add to the starting rotation, but you can never have enough bullpen help.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.