Dodgers News: Stan Kasten Believes Gerrit Cole Was Set On Signing With Yankees In Free Agency
Gerrit Cole and wife Amy at an introductory press conference with the New York Yankees
Danielle Parhizkaran/USA TODAY Sports

This offseason has been lucrative for free agents, and the list starts with Gerrit Cole. Perhaps the best right-handed starter in baseball signed a nine-year, $324 million contract with the New York Yankees, which marked the largest contract for a pitcher in MLB history.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were among the teams that pursued Cole, which went against president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman’s prior history. The Dodgers have been hesitant to sign players, particularly pitchers, to long-term contracts since the Guggenheim ownership group took over.

Yet every indication is their interest and pursuit of Cole was serious. The Dodgers’ offer reportedly was eight years and $300 million, though included deferrals.

New York, who drafted Cole out of high school in 2008 but was turned down so he could attend UCLA, was simply not going to get denied a second time. The Yankees had a need for a top-of-the-rotation arm and money to spend, which made them a perfect fit for a pitcher who grew up a fan of the team.

That ended up being the case with Cole, leaving the Dodgers and all other potential suitors in a difficult position. So much so that Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten felt Cole was destined to signed with the Yankees despite efforts from other teams, per Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times:

“It is clear now, I think it was clear to us in the middle of the process, he wanted to be a Yankee, he just did,” Kasten said. “In retrospect, I think we were just the stalking horse to get a number he finally could get from a team he wanted to go to. I don’t have any quibble with his approach or with Scott’s approach, it was all very fair, but he wants to be somewhere, he got a lot of money to be where he wanted to be.”

While that is a tough break for the Dodgers, they are now looking elsewhere to improve their club. To this point, they have only bolstered their bullpen with the signing of Blake Treinen to a one-year contract while a majority of the other big-name free agents have signed elsewhere.

Kasten added L.A. is expected to go above the luxury tax threshold in 2020, meaning they still have some moves to make between now and the start of the season.

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