Teams will be making their initial offers to Gerrit Cole in the coming days, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN (via Twitter). Cole, the top free agent in this year’s class, is a near-lock to exceed David Price’s $217MM guarantee, the current record contract for a pitcher.
Which teams figure to be in on Cole? The Yankees are seemingly committed to bringing Cole to the Bronx, and Peter Gammons of the Athletic somewhat cryptically tweets that the Bombers “were not denied” in their pursuit. Nevertheless, Passan’s sources hear that the Angels and Dodgers do remain in the running alongside the Yankees as favorites for Cole’s services. Both LA organizations have previously met with the Southern California native, as have the Yankees.
While that big-market trio seems to have moved to the forefront of the Cole race, other teams may still yet enter the mix once the time comes to put formal offers on the table. Jon Heyman of MLB Network reiterates (via Twitter) the Phillies’ and Rangers’ interest. Recent indications, though, are that Philadelphia and Texas seem to be more focused on fellow Scott Boras client Anthony Rendon.
That interest in Rendon, who himself figures to handily exceed $200MM, suggests that both organizations have ample spending room should they set their sights on Cole instead. However, the Phillies have already made one massive outlay on starting pitching this offseason, signing Zack Wheeler to a $118MM deal. The Rangers, meanwhile, have seemingly plugged two holes in their rotation via smaller deals for Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles. With that in mind, it seems to make sense for those two clubs to turn their attention to the position player side of things.
With the Cole market seemingly heating up, he figures to be the center of attention at next week’s Winter Meetings. With some of the sport’s biggest spenders eyeing him, Cole will surely break the bank whenever he makes the final decision.