Much will come to light in the coming days now that the Yankees have officially given Gerrit Cole the largest deal in league history for a pitcher – but even now, mere hours from the revelation, the news is starting to sink in. The rest of the pitching market could unstick rather quickly, and the Blue Jays are having to factor in their new reality of having to face Cole four or five times a year for the next decade, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of sportsnet.ca. Of course, what better way for Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and friends to push themselves to reach their massive potentials than by facing off with the best of the best. Of greater concern for Toronto is who will take the mound on their side in 2020. With the biggest names now off the board, interest will pick up for the next tier of free agent starters, guys like Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel, in whom Toronto has shown interest. Those who missed out on Cole may up the ante for the next round, however, putting the Blue Jays’ realistic options more in the field of Tanner Roark, Rick Porcello, or Wade Miley. They could even lend a helping hand to the Yankees by taking back J.A. Happ if a prospect(s) came along with him. Let’s see what else folks are saying here in the wee hours of life in our bleak new post-Cole-sweepstakes reality…
- The winners and losers of Cole’s mega contract are fairly obvious, but The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal makes the rounds anyway, starting with the Yankees – the biggest winners here (besides Cole and maybe Scott Boras) for finally reeling in their “white whale.” The Angels come away from the Cole saga disappointed, but it’s not all bad for the Halos. They have more need than could have been filled by Cole alone. As tantalizing a talent Cole is, they may be better off spreading their money around. Now that the Giants took Zack Cozart’s deal off their hands, they might have enough resources to buy a supporting cast for Mike Trout.
- It’s easy to view the Yankees’ winning bid as a harkening back to the days of New York as the evil empire, but the reality is actually much more frightening, per The Athletic’s Marc Carig. He writes, “The Yankees are well-run, well-heeled and well-schooled in the art of reeling in the big fish.” True enough: this was no impulsive spending spree. The Yankees, like much of the league, have curbed their shopping addictions and learned to spend wisely. As a result, they should enter 2020 as favorites to win the American League. Oddly, for years it was expected that Bryce Harper and Manny Machado’s free agency would wake the dormant goliaths from their winter slumber, but it turned out to be Cole who not only made the notoriously judicious Andrew Friedman plead his case for the Dodgers, but who prompted the Yankees to shake off the rust and woo their western rival’s star player like the old days.
- Speaking of: Andy Pettitte played a role in evangelizing on behalf of New York’s lifestyle benefits. He encouraged Cole about playing in New York as a benefit for his peace of mind, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Pettitte’s point was that Cole could focus himself on the task of winning titles, as the playoffs should be an annual guarantee (or at least strong possibility). Of course, the Dodgers and Astros could have made the same argument about their squads.
- The Dodgers, it’s worth noting, made a real push for Cole. Among 324 million other reasons, however, Cole came away from his meeting with New York impressed with new pitching coach Matt Blake, who appealed to Cole’s interest in the intellectual side of the game, noted Carig. Of course, Cole also grew up a Yankees fan, which might have tipped the scale in the Yankees’ favor in a way that the Dodgers simply couldn’t answer. Now that the dust has settled, the Dodgers are moving on to the goal of convincing Madison Bumgarner to make the heel turn and join an already strong rotation in Chavez Ravine, tweets Rosenthal.