In this chapter, we’re tackling a one-season standout for the Marlins, but Mark Buehrle won a total of 214 games at the major league level.
Our offseason-long countdown has graduated to the homestretch as we gear up for 2021 regular season baseball. At number 29, Mark Buehrle is the highest ranking player to complete only one season with the Marlins.
29. Mark Buehrle
Mark Buehrle is a six-foot-two left-handed pitcher from St. Charles, Missouri. In 1998, the Chicago White Sox chose him in the 38th round out of Jefferson College, in Hillsboro, MO. Buehrle didn’t sign with them right away, putting it off almost until the following draft. He signed on May 21, 1999.
Buehrle played 12 seasons for the storied franchise, and ranks sixth on their all-time leaderboard with 161 wins (against 119 losses). After the 2011 season, the Marlins signed the lefty to a four-year, $58 million deal.
Every season from 2001 through 2014, Buehrle completed at least 200 innings, and he finished 2015 with 198 2/3. It’s a stretch we’re not likely to see again. The 2012 campaign was no exception, as he led the Marlins pitching staff with 202 1⁄3 innings. Durability was the name of the game for Buehrle.
In a team-leading 31 starts (tied with Josh Johnson (ranking tbd) and Ricky Nolasco (#72)), Buehrle went 13-13 with a team-best 1.171 WHIP and a rotation leading 3.74 ERA. Although he only struck out 125 to rank last on the pitching staff at 5.6 K/9, making batters miss was never Buehrle’s strong point.
Although Buehrle hit like a career American League pitcher (three-for-67 with 29 strikeouts), he fielded well enough to win the National League Gold Glove at the pitcher position, his fourth consecutive such award. He also walked only 40 batters all year, a rate of 1.8 per nine, and led the circuit with 47 assists.
Buehrle didn’t pitch any shutouts in his season with the Fish, and only tossed one complete game. Regardless, with an average GameScore of 53, a strike-rate of 64 percent, and an opposing slashline of .258/.296/.414, Buehrle more than proved his mettle at the age of 33.
Buehrle’s tenure with the Marlins was cut short by three seasons when they sent him back to the American League — the Toronto Blue Jays after the season, with Emilio Bonifacio (#65), John Buck (#85), Josh Johnson (#7), Jose Reyes (#146), and cash for Henderson Alvarez (#17), Anthony DeSclafani (#371), Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria (#81), Jake Marisnick (#337), Jeff Mathis (#232), and Justin Nicolino (#122). Was that one sentence? I’m sorry.
Buehrle pitched three seasons for the North-of-the-Border outfit, going 40-28 to close his career at 214-160 with a 3.81 ERA.