Buehrle's deal on the mark 

July, 9, 2007
07/09/07
2:33
PM ET
Here's the simplest rationale for paying Mark Buehrle $56 million over the next four seasons: That's what they get.

Well, except they usually get more. White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said of Buehrle, "He really does not lose out on what he potentially could have gotten on the open market as a free agent."

That's not true, though, is it? Buehrle's about as good as a pitcher can be without being a perennial Cy Young candidate. This is his seventh season in the rotation, and he's on pace for his seventh straight season with more than 200 innings. With the exception of 2006, his ERA's been significantly lower than league average in each of those seven seasons. Essentially, he's what the Giants thought they were getting when they signed Barry Zito.

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