The hot stove is finally beginning to heat up with less than a week until the annual MLB Winter Meetings commence in San Diego. Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas have each come off the board in recent days, signing respective four-year contracts with the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds.
And while top free agents such as Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg have yet to ink new deals, their markets are nevertheless beginning to gain some clarity.
Rendon reportedly met with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers, while the Washington Nationals are still holding out hope they can re-sign their homegrown star.
As for the two top free-agent starting pitchers, the New York Yankees are attempting to make headway with both Cole and Strasburg. Cole has been identified as their top target, with the club aiming to pair him with James Paxton and Luis Severino at the front of the rotation.
And while that remains the organization’s top priority this offseason, the Yankees are reportedly concerned Cole may prefer to sign with a West Coast team such as the Dodgers or L.A. Angels, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network:
Yankees meet with top target Gerrit Cole in SoCal today. They are all in. But having been rebuffed after drafting him and offering basically a blank check (he went to UCLA instead), they are very concerned he may prefer Angels and Dodgers. NYY will meet w/Strasburg tomorrow.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 3, 2019
Yanks had “very nice” introductory meeting with Gerrit Cole yesterday. No $ specifically discussed. They are selling him on being a Yankee and winning. Also key: “the dollars will be there.” The Yankees believe he’d thrive in NY but also believe he may prefer LA.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 4, 2019
The Dodgers, Angels and Yankees were previously identified as the three most likely suitors for Cole at the beginning of the offseason. And while New York plans to aggressively court him, some of Cole’s former teammates believe he has long desired pitching closer to his hometown of Newport Beach, Calif.
The 29-year-old is coming off an outstanding 2019 season with the Houston Astros in which he posted a 20-5 record, American League-best 2.50 ERA and 0.90 WHIP en route to a second-place finish in Cy Young voting.
The Dodgers are expected to address their starting rotation one way or another this offseason, but it is unclear if they are willing to meet Cole’s asking price. The club appears more focused on adding another elite bat, having been connected to Rendon, Josh Donaldson and Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.
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