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Buehrle turning page despite bitter end in Miami

Buehrle turning page despite bitter end in Miami

Buehrle turning page despite bitter end in Miami
TORONTO -- Mark Buehrle is attempting the turn the page in his career, but that doesn't mean there aren't any hard feelings towards his former employer.

The veteran starting pitcher spoke out Wednesday for the first time since last week's massive 12-player deal between Toronto and Miami. The anger stems from Buehrle signing a four-year contract with the Marlins last offseason, only to be dealt a year later.

Buehrle claims there were a series of broken promises along the way by Miami, and it appears to have left a very sour taste in his mouth.

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"I'm upset with how things turned out in Miami," Buehrle said in a written statement. "Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions. But I'm putting it behind me and looking forward to moving on with my career."

Buehrle was lured to Miami last offseason with a four-year contract valued at $58 million. He was joined by fellow free agents Jose Reyes and Heath Bell in what turned into an expensive shopping spree as a way to generate excitement for the new ballpark in Miami.

Less than a year later, all three of those players are now gone. Bell was dealt to Arizona at the end of the year, and a few weeks later Buehrle and Reyes were also sent packing in a blockbuster trade with Toronto.

Trades are all part of the game, but it's the broken promises that has Buehrle most upset. Although the Marlins have a policy of not giving no-trade clauses in player contracts, Buehrle and Reyes reportedly were both told they didn't have to worry about being on the move, and had been given verbal no-trade agreements in 2011.

The harsh reality of that is verbal agreements can't be enforced. Buehrle has no other choice but to move on.

"In an offseason of change and uncertainty, the overriding factor in Mark's signing with Miami was Ozzie Guillen and the level of comfort his presence provided Mark and his family," Buehrle's agent Jeff Berry said in a statement. "While the Marlins were the highest bidder, baseball had already made Mark a wealthy man, so money was far from the most important factor in his decision.

"Throughout the recruiting process, the Marlins made repeated assurances about their long-term commitment to Mark and his family and their long-term commitment to building a winning tradition of Marlins baseball in the new stadium ... This is unquestionably a business, and signing with the Marlins was a calculated risk. Mark held up his end of the bargain; unfortunately, the same can't be said of the Marlins."

The turmoil surrounding the broken promises has put a dark cloud over the trade in Miami. But the same can't be said in Toronto, where fans and players are now openly talking about making a run at the postseason.

Buehrle and his agent both said the Marlins controversy won't impact their new relationship with the Blue Jays. Berry said that Buehrle "is a consummate professional and is looking forward to joining his new teammates in Toronto."

That should put an end to any talk that suggests Buehrle would not be prepared to join the club. Speculation began to grow last week because the province of Ontario has a ban on pitbulls, while Buehrle and his wife own one of those dogs and are advocates for that type of breed.

Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos has heard all of that speculation, but said the wheels are already in motion to find a solution to the issue.

Anthopoulos also added that it's not just Buehrle who is excited about joining the new ballclub, but also Reyes and front-line starter Josh Johnson, who was also acquired in the blockbuster trade.

"I've read things about Mark Buehrle and pitbulls," Anthopoulos said. "We've already talked to his agent, I've talked to Mark, we're actually trying to help him out with that, and he's going to work through that.

"I think it's normal that they would be shocked. You sign a big free-agent deal, very few big free agents get traded after one year. That goes without saying, but I think once all the dust has settled they'll realize they've come to a team that has a chance to win, and that should be exciting for all of them."

Buehrle's acceptance will come as welcome news to the Blue Jays. He was a key component of the transaction, and filled a void by providing the club with a reliable pitcher who has thrown at least 200 innings in 12 consecutive seasons.

The 33-year-old owns a career 174-132 mark, with a 3.82 ERA, with all but one of his 13 seasons in the big leagues coming with the Chicago White Sox.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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