(David Banks/GETTY IMAGES)

The Miami Marlins signed Mark Buehrle to a four-year, $58 million deal, removing the Nationals’ top offseason target from the market. In regard to strengthening the top of their rotation, the Nationals may turn to veteran right-hander Roy Oswalt. They have also kicked the tires on Oakland A’s left-hander Gio Gonzalez, but the asking price for the 26-year-old with four years remaining before he hits free agency is likely too exorbinant for the Nationals. 

If the Nationals do not add to their rotation, “we feel that we have good depth with starting pitching with what we have in-house,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said. But it has to sting for the Nationals to miss out on the pitcher they believed was, by far, the best fit for their team. 

The Nationals made Mark Buehrle their best offer earlier in the day. “We’ve put our best foot forward,” Rizzo said. “We made what we feel is a legitimate, fair, market-value offer.”

Early this afternoon, Buehrle intensified negotiations with his final three choices in order to push toward choosing his next team. The Miami Marlins will reunite Buehrle with Ozzie Guillen, his manager with the Chicago White Sox.

Before Buehrle made his decision, Rizzo, was confident about the Nationals’ chances.

“I feel good about how we presented it,” Rizzo said. “I feel good about the fit and the opportunity. We had good dialogue with Mark and his people. We feel good about ourselves.”

Added Rizzo: “It’s about where he feels his best opportunity is and where his best match is.”

In the end, Buehrle had strong interest in the Nationals, but they fell short by a fairly wide margin of the guaranteed money the Marlins offered.

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