Gerrit Cole made Major League Baseball history at the Winter Meetings this week when he agreed to a nine-year, $324 million contract with the New York Yankees. The contract was the largest ever for a pitcher both in terms of total money and average annual value.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and L.A. Angels were the other two teams that were heavily involved in the Cole sweepstakes, hoping he had a desire to return home to Southern California where he grew up (Newport Beach) and attended college (UCLA).
Considering Andrew Friedman’s history as president of baseball operations of the Dodgers, they were always viewed as a long shot to give Cole the type of contract he was looking for. The Yankees not only gave Cole a record-breaking amount of money, but he also has an opt-out clause after the fifth year of the deal, in addition to a full no-trade clause and none of the money deferred.
Despite their prior history and reputation, the Dodgers in reality were serious bidders against the Yankees for Cole, evident by the right-hander being L.A.’s main focus this winter.
However, their offer ultimately couldn’t match up with that of the Yankees, per Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
The Dodgers were willing to set the mark for Cole, too, and commit more money to him than any other player in franchise history. Their final offer was eight years for $300 million, though it included deferrals, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
While it wasn’t enough to land the best pitcher in baseball, it is a bit surprising to see the Dodgers were willing to go that high on their offer for Cole.
With Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Julio Urias, Dustin May, Ross Stripling and Tony Gonsolin all in the mix for rotation spots in 2020, the Dodgers don’t exactly have a pressing need for a starter, although they do seem set on adding one more arm to that group.
Other options they can now turn to include Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu, who are expected to command lucrative contracts around the $100 million mark; significantly lower than Cole’s deal with New York.
The Dodgers could have spent the money they saved by not signing Cole on a position player like Anthony Rendon. But he wound up joining the Angels on a seven-year, $245 million deal and never received a contract offer from the Dodgers.
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