2013 Blue Jays Player Reviews: Mark Buehrle


Aug 20, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Mark Buehrle (56) pitches against the New York Yankees during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Mark Buehrle
Positon: Starting Pitcher

2013 Expectations:

Mark Buehrle had a rather consistent, if unspectacular career when the Blue Jays acquired the 13-year veteran on November 19, 2012 in the massive trade that sent Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Buehlre, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck to Toronto in exchange for Anthony DeSclafani, Justin Nicolino, Henderson Alvarez, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick and Jeff Mathis. As a secondary player in that deal, Buehrle was seen as a nice add-in and a solid anchor for the middle of the rotation.

That all said, the Blue Jays were expecting to receive a pitcher that would hit double-digits in wins, a mid-to-high 3.00 ERA, and a proven winner. Basically, the Blue Jays were getting a blue collar pitcher who didn’t dazzle but kept his team in games, and that is precisely what they needed.

2013 Reality:

Mark Buehrle’s return to the American League was a struggle for the first several outings of 2013, as he went 5-6 with a 4.89 ERA and surrendered 16 home runs in his first 19 starts in a Blue Jays uniform. However, he shook it all off in the second half of the season, posting a 7-4 record with a 3.18 ERA and only 8 home runs in his last 14 starts of the season. Overall, he finished the season with a 12-10 record, a 4.15 ERA, and a 6.1 K/9 ratio in 203.2 innings pitched in 2013.

Split-wise, Buehrle offered up some unique dynamics. He was actually much better at home in Rogers Centre, where he posted a 8-4 record and a 3.36 ERA compared to 4-6 and 4.94 on the road. There was also a drastic split between his performance during wins than there was during losses, as showcased below:

In fact, there was a stretch from July 20th through September 4th where Buehrle was the team’s most dominant starter. During that stretch, he went 6-1 through 10 games, posting a 2.21 ERA and a 1.056 WPA.

In a season where the number 2 (Brandon Morrow) and number 4 (Josh Johnson) starters were lost to injury and various other arms tried to fill those slots, a solid option like Buehrle that could take the ball every fifth day without question became a godsend.

2014 Outlook:

The questions about what the Blue Jays will get from Mark Buehrle in 2014 have been answered, just check out his 14 year track record of success. For a guy that doesn’t throw hard, he’s carved out quite the career for himself.

That said, Buehrle’s contract also escalates in 2014, jumping from $11 million to $18 million, with the Marlins no longer kicking any money in. Whether he gives the Blue Jays $18 million worth of innings on the mound will have to be seen. The Blue Jays hope that he can continue his second half and home success in 2014, as along with R.A. Dickey, Buehrle is the only known quantity in the rotation for next season.