MILWAUKEE — On Monday, Ken Williams talked about Mark Buehrle in pessimistic terms. On Tuesday, he didn’t want to talk about him any more.
“Listen, I know you guys have to ask the question about Mark Buehrle,” Williams told reporters at baseball’s general managers meetings at the Pfister Hotel. “I think I’ve answered it, and I’ve answered it the same way consistently every time I’ve been asked. Look at the notes. It is what it is.”
“I’m not talking about it anymore.”
One reporter tried to change his mind by asking about a Buehrle time table.
“It’s the same answer to an old question,” Williams said.
Buehrle, who will be 33 when the 2012 season opens, is only two years older than C.J. Wilson, the other upper-echelon lefty available on the free-agent market. The popular White Sox, solid citizen and dependable starter (11 straight seasons of 10-plus wins, 200-plus innings and 30 or more starts), has played his entire career on the South Side. He has talked about possibly retiring, but the money might be too good to pass. There is speculation his next contract could mirror his last deal with the Sox — $56 million for four years.
The demand for Buehrle’s services is big, and there are big spenders in pursuit. His agent, Jeff Berry, heard from the Marlins again on Tuesday. And — brace yourselves for the sting of this possible scenario, Sox fans — the Cubs met with Berry for the second time on Tuesday.
Also interested: the deep-pocket Yankees and Red Sox, as well as the Blue Jays, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Royals and Angels.
And the White Sox, of course.
“Listen, it’s no secret that he’s been sought after so he has options. And I don’t have the details just yet what those options are, but he has options,” Williams said Monday.
“He has been as consistent of a performer as you’d ever want over the time he’s been here. What I will miss more than that is the person he is. And you guys know what I’m talking about.
“When you talk about teammates, good teammates, supportive teammates, guys who have fun in the game, know when to be serious, know when to check somebody but know when to make somebody laugh, this is the guy you want. There’s much more that we’re going to miss than just every-fifth-day from Mark.”