Several weeks before Gerrit Cole became a headliner for this winter’s free agency class, predictions for his new contract were plentiful. The likes of the incumbent Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees were the teams most often speculated about.
Now as the Winter Meetings in San Diego get underway, Cole’s market is largely believed to include the Dodgers, L.A. Angels and Yankees. The Dodgers and Yankees additionally are the among the teams that reportedly have met with Stephen Strasburg as well.
However, every indication has been the Yankees prefer and were focused on their pursuit of Cole. New York was said to be mulling over a mega contract offer for the right-hander that would set a record for a pitcher.
According to Bob Klapisch of the New York Times, that has amounted to the Yankees presenting Cole with a seven-year, $245 million deal:
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
Should Cole agree to the terms, it not only would break Zack Greinke’s record for average annual value, but also surpass the seven-year, $217 million contract David Price signed for the richest a pitcher has ever received.
Signing with the Yankees would bring Cole’s career full circle in some regard. They selected him with the 28th overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft but he elected to attend UCLA. Three years later Cole was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the No. 1 selection.
He enjoyed individual success during his tenure with the Pirates and took a step forward after being traded to the Houston Astros. Cole was a two-time All-Star and went a combined 35-10 with a 2.68 ERA over the past two years with the Astros.
Although the Dodgers appear to have serious interest in marquee free agents such as Cole and Strasburg, it’s difficult to envision president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman topping the type of contract offer the Yankees have extended.
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