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ChiSox GM thinks team, Buehrle not that far off

CHICAGO -- White Sox general manager Ken Williams said
Monday he's still hoping the team will sign ace lefty Mark Buehrle
to a contract extension.

Mark Buehrle

Buehrle

Starting Pitcher
Chicago White Sox

Profile

Assistant general manger Rick Hahn and Buehrle's agent Jeff
Berry discussed a new deal last week, but negotiations slowed when
the team did not give Buehrle a full no-trade clause, according to
published reports. The Chicago Sun-Times reported the sides had
agreed to a four-year, $56 million deal before the no-trade
stalemate. Buehrle can become a free agent after the season.

"My gut is both parties want it to happen, so I would be
hopeful that it would," Williams said before Monday's 7-6 loss to the Orioles.

Buehrle went 7 2/3 innings on Monday and gave up two earned runs but didn't get a decision when the bullpen fell apart.

Buehrle thinks that a deal can be reached. "I think both sides are being stubborn," he said.

"I feel 100 percent I'll make my start on Saturday. I don't feel that is the last one. ... I think something can still get done. I was traded to Boston and I'm passing up on some deal and going to Atlanta. I've heard so much stuff. Until I get that tap on my shoulder and say you've been traded or we're going to sign you to the extension that's all kind of rumors."

Buehrle got an ovation as he came in from the bullpen before the game and a much louder one as he was introduced and went to the mound. Hanging from a mezzanine box was a large sign: "Extend Buehrle." And in the sixth inning, the crowd began to chant "Re-Sign Buehrle."

And when he exited with two outs in the eighth, he was greeted by roaring ovation and waved his hat to acknowledge it before heading into the dugout.

"I didn't know I was liked that much here," Buehrle said.

After the White Sox fell in a deep hole by losing 22 of 27
games, Williams said he was ready to make changes and begin an
overhaul that would no doubt include trading away some players.
Jermaine Dye will also be a free agent after this season. The White
Sox then won 6 of 7 on a road trip.

Buehrle, who has a 102-70 career record, has been a consistent performer since
making his debut in 2000 -- with the exception of a dismal second
half a year ago.

Buehrle had said repeatedly that he prefers to stay with the
White Sox.

According to Williams, the White Sox's latest offer to Buehrle
includes about 18 months of exposure in the middle of the deal
where he would not be protected by a full no-trade provision.

"If that's the only thing that's the roadblock at this point,
then I have to be optimistic that something can get done,"
Williams said.

"Mark is willing to forego free agency and has made no secret
of his desire to remain in Chicago," Berry said Monday night. "In
return, he simply wants assurance that he will stay with the Sox
for the next four years."

Williams said he phoned Buehrle to tell him personally that the
White Sox had no intention of pulling off a sign-and-trade deal. He
said he understood Buehrle's desire for a complete no-trade, but
added that giving it could be problematic for White Sox in future
negotiations.

"It's not really a matter of us not desiring to do it
completely, it's a matter of business practice and how that's going
to affect the next day, the next player I attempt to sign, future
free agents down the line," he said.