As MLB free agency moves at a snails pace, the Winter Meetings have finally arrived. They started on December 8 and end December 12, which will hopefully get the hot stove started. Every GM will be in San Diego to talk shop for five days. So far the big three of Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole are all still on the open market. But don’t be surprised if Cole is the first to sign a new contract.
Jeff Passan tweeted a few days back on how teams will be making offers to Cole. And his predicted timetable matches up with the Winter Meetings.
The pace of negotiations for Gerrit Cole is TBD. It could move very fast. It may well hit a snag. A lot depends on the initial offers. But know this: Teams recognize that there is a very strong market and that showing the depth of interest with a strong first offer is favorable.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 7, 2019
Understandably, Gerrit Cole is in line to sign the biggest contract by a pitcher in baseball history. He should surpass David Price and his $217 million with ease. After all just this past season, he went 20-5, with an ERA of 2.50 and a whopping 326 strikeouts. The 29-year-old established himself as arguably the best pitcher in baseball and is going to be paid accordingly.
Now it seems Jeff Passan was right about initial offers coming in for Cole. It was reported by Bob Klapisch that the New York Yankees struck first and plan on offering Cole a seven-year contract for $245 million.
I'm told #Yankees have a seven-year, $245 million offer on the table for Gerrit Cole. Would be a record-setting contract for a pitcher, surpassing Greinke’s $34.4 million AAV. Question is whether #Dodgers or #Angels will go to 8-9 or even 10 years.
— Bob Klapisch (@BobKlap) December 8, 2019
The Yankees believe they are one player away and understandably so. They have reached the ALCS twice in the past three years, and have had 100 or more wins in the past two seasons. In 2019, the Yankees pitching staff ranked 15th in the league in ERA with a 4.51. This is impressive seeing how the teams ace Luis Severino missed the majority of the season. With Cole in the midst, the Yankees will have arguably the best pitching staff in the American League. So it should be no surprise that the Yankees are willing to spend so much. They also know both LA teams are interested in the off-seasons top prize.
As Passan noted, the Dodgers and Angels are also favorites to sign the 29-year-old. Both teams have plenty of money and have needs in their rotation.
The Angels have stated in the past that they are all in on Cole and told Joe Maddon when they hired him they intended to increase the team’s payroll. Last year the Angels starting pitchers finished with the second-worst ERA in the league with a 5.64. Signing Cole would be a huge first step in fixing the rotation and building a winning team around Mike Trout. It also helps that Cole is a California native, but he did tell the Yankees he has “no West Coast bias”. Now it will come down to if Cole buys into the Angles being on the cusp of contending. As of now, the Angels haven’t made the playoffs since 2014, and have had four consecutive losing seasons. At the same time, he will have an opportunity to play with the best player in baseball and that might be enough to change his mind.
For now, we wait to see how the winter meetings play out and for the bidding to commence.
Feature Image From Sports Illustrated.
“From Our Haus to Yours”