Cheap Seats

Could Buehrle end up being a Bird after all

There was talk for years about Mark Buehrle eventually ending up with the Cardinals. But that seemed to be put to rest for good when the St. Charles, Mo. native inked a contract extension with the White Sox a couple of years ago.

Now writer Ken Rosenthal thinks the chances are on the rise again.

Rosenthal thinks the Pale Hose may be willing to deal Buehrle if they continue to fall out of competition. He's got a no-trade clause, so he can be picky about where he goes. If not with Chicago, it is believed the lefty starter would prefer to play for the team he rooted for as a kid, St. Louis.

Buehrle might come cheap in terms of prospects because his salary is so high: He's inked for $14 million this year and another $14 million in 2010. But it gets worse. If he's traded, Buehrle's contract calls for him to make an additional $1 million this year and next and have an option for 2012 automatically vest. I don't see the Cardinals springing for that kind of cash. Especially when, at some point, they're going to have to find the money to pay Albert Pujols.

St. Louis might be willing to part with a guy like Allen Craig -- a good hitter with no place to play because Pujols blocks him at first, Freese at third and Holliday in left. But the White Sox would have to kick in major, major cash to make it happen. I'm guessing at least somewhere in the range of $15-$20 million. Would they do that just to make him go away?

The White Sox are six games under .500 and in third place in the American League Central, eight games back of the Twins. Buerhle is 3-5 with a 4.38 ERA.

Word out of Houston is that Roy Oswalt prefers to play for the Cardinals if the Astros deal him, but the Astros are reluctant to deal within their division. I don't buy that logic. Houston doesn't appear to be in any sort of shape to compete by the time Oswalt's contract is up at the end of 2011. The Birds would have far more to risk as far as having players they dealt come back to make them miserable in the future.