At the beginning of the weekend, we heard numerous reports that super agent Scott Boras and his crew would be asking teams across the league to submit their initial offers for his prized client, Gerrit Cole, at the beginning of this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego.
Seemingly, the Yankees took the bull by the horns on Sunday, reportedly offering the 29-year-old righty a $245 million deal that would span seven years. Not only would those numbers pass David Price‘s $217 million record for overall dollars, but it would also surpass the AAV record of $34.4 million held by Zack Greinke.
According to reports, both the Dodgers and the Angels are still among the big players in the Cole sweepstakes. The Angels are desperate for a frontline starter and seem to be willing to spend as much as possible to build a formidable starting rotation. Conversely, as creative as front-office boss Andrew Friedman can be, it’s tough to see him offering anything that will be more persuasive than New York’s offer.
Recently, Friedman pointed out to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register the last thing he will do is lose his cool and get caught up in a bidding frenzy with the game’s top stars.
“I think it’s important to maintain some discipline whether it’s on the trade front or the free-agent market to find what works best for us,” Friedman said. “If you’re always rational about every free agent, you will finish third on every free agent.”
In the case of Cole, it could be one of those instances when the Dodgers do indeed finish third. Nevertheless, an early exit from the Cole bidding could allow the Los Angeles front-office team to focus their efforts on someone else, specifically free-agent righty Stephen Strasburg.
As far as Cole goes, the native of Newport Beach finished with career-highs in just about every notable statistic last season. He went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA, a 2.64 FIP and 326 strikeouts over 212-1/3 innings pitched in 33 starts.
There were some mediocre seasons, however. In 2016, the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder went 7-10 with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.440 WHIP when he was fighting minor elbow problems with the Pirates, making just 21 starts. In 2017, he posted a 12-12 record with a career-worst 4.26 ERA over 33 starts. Nevertheless, his 12.4 and 13.8 K/9 over the last two seasons suggest his effectiveness might be as good as ever.
Cole features a heater which often exceeds 97 MPH and a plus-slider he uses as his “put-away” pitch. As indicated by Brooks Baseball, he throws his four-seam about 55% of the time and his slider approximately 23% of the time. Also, he occasionally throws a curve and a change.
In terms of projections for 2020, Baseball Reference predicts Cole will go 14-6 with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.065 WHIP with 247 strikeouts over 186 innings.
Cole made $13.5 million last season with the Astros.