When it comes to the money handed out, this has been one of the most active weeks in the history of Major League Baseball. At the Winter Meetings, we saw two right-handers – Gerrit Cole (nine years, $324MM) and Stephen Strasburg (seven years, $245MM) – as well as third baseman Anthony Rendon (seven years, $245MM) secure contracts worth a combined $814MM. All three are clients of super-agent Scott Boras, which makes this a glorious week for him. But which of these deals will work out the best?
Let’s start at the top with Cole, now the highest-paid pitcher the game has ever seen. He’s emigrating from the Astros to the rival Yankees, who finally reeled in their so-called white whale. Led by general manager Brian Cashman, the Yankees had previously chased Cole on multiple occasions, only to come up short. Of course, the 29-year-old Cole would’ve been much cheaper in the past, but he’s now the most expensive player on the Yankees’ roster.
Before Cole signed with the Yankees, Strasburg briefly had the honor of owning the richest all-time payday among MLB pitchers. Strasburg earned that after several stellar seasons in Washington, where he collected World Series MVP honors in 2019 after the Nats took down Cole and the Astros. Washington couldn’t let Strasburg go in the wake of his fall heroics, instead retaining him to keep forming a dominant trio with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin. Although Strasburg, 31, is much cheaper than Cole, it’s worth noting he’s a couple years older.
Rendon joined Strasburg as an indispensable part of the Nationals’ 2019 title-winning club, but the Nats weren’t ready to go all-out to keep both of them. As a result, Rendon exited after the Strasburg re-up to accept the Angels’ offer on Wednesday. The Angels hope the 29-year-old Rendon and the game’s best player, center fielder Mike Trout, will help spark a playoff run in 2020 after years of irrelevance.
There’s no going back for the teams that signed Cole, Strasburg or Rendon. All three are locked into their incredibly large guarantees for the foreseeable future. In your opinion, though, which deal will work out the best?
(Poll link for app users)
this is a bad question in a few ways. I like the Rendon deal but I dont think it will be good cause I dont see the Angles going any where in the future. If I had to say what deal will be the best for results I will have to say Cole will provide the most value during the lifetime of the contract.
when mlb punishment comes down asstros will have to trade most players.
Steven St Croix
Stop it. No they won’t. They will get a fine and Hinch, the GM, will be suspended for a month and Kevin Goldstein and maybe a couple more will lose their jobs. That comment was just dumb.
cheaters will get punishment. that’s fact!
Strasburg the best of these three hands down.
Cheaters “who blatantly get caught”…
Wrong. The Astros will be punished a lot. Their farm system will be decimated. Most of their MLB players will demand to be traded when the Astros are banned from the postseason for five years. Cheaters need to be punished.
this isn’t the NCAA
There is absolutely no way they will be forced to trade anyone. I doubt they even get stripped of the WS they won.
Sure some people will lose jobs, some fines, maybe even loss of draft picks and or international bonus money.
Obviously you haven’t seen that there are 60 witnesses, and 17000 emails. They’re going to reinterview players and managers who were lying the first time around to get them to confess. If they continue to lie, definite 1 season suspension. I fully expect them to strip the title.
The Astros won’t have a punishment that is as much as the Cardinals did for what they did. That was literally against the law.
A couple of draft picks and a couple million fine and it will all be over.
That would make cheating easier way to win WS than signing an FA player who rejected qualifying offer.
Agreed. In a performance sense, Rendon is on the youngest end, with less years and less total dollars. But with the Angels pitching needs far heavier than offense, it’s not the type of move that gets them to the playoffs.
You could say the “Angles” are heading in the “right” direction
True, but their fans are obtuse if they think they will contend without better pitching
The Adrian Beltre
Well, wasn’t that acute little play on words.
I’m geometrically opposed to this thread.
You’re a total square.
I’d say the counter argument is the Yankees were likely to make the playoffs without Cole and had at least a fair shot to win a World Series without him as well. Obviously having Cole increases their odds, but if you’re weighing actual long-term value of a player/contract, it should be independent of the talent surrounding him.
Angels are projected to be a 90ish win team before adding SP. People are going to be very wrong on the halos.
Where are the Angels projected to win 90?
In bkbk’s mind.
including spring training?
It’s a horrible deal. Look at his stats minus a juiced ball contract year.
Ok, but how does seeing that those stats are good prove the signing is terrible?
Before 2019 he posted two back to back 5+ WAR seasons. He also came close to back to back .300/.400/.500 seasons. What’s your point?
Cole was a overpay by about 100 million. 2 years of great production. Mediocre player and likely to regress over that 9 year deal. And no I didnt want him on the dodgers.
I voted Rendon, because he will provide 162 games of production that wins or loses games. Cole could revert to the Pittsburgh version that saw Yankee fans refuse to have him on the team, not worth the prospects that were asked for. 37M a season will handicap the Yankees for many years. Plus, there is the risk of a flame throwing pitcher like Cole, that had arm troubles in the past, needing TJS sometime down the road. Yankee Stadium isn’t Houston and many balls will leave the park with the short porch in right, the same as many pitchers watched balls leave the park down the right field line around the Pensky pole in Boston. Injuries are part of the game and both Strasberg and Cole have dealt with arm issues in the past. Rendon doesn’t have that over his head and should provide the most value, since runs scored wins games, not a pitchers strikeout rate or ERA.
37m per year is never going to “handicap” the Yankees
My thoughts exactly. People keep acting like 30 mil or 300 mil means anything to the Yankees. They’ll probably make back this years salary and then some by Xmas just in sales on his jersey…
Yanks had a 100+ win season with Stanton, Severino, and Ellsbury earning about $60 mil. If Cole is injured for a significant amount of time then insurance will cover.
I honestly believe if Cole went to the Yankees when the Pirates traded him instead of Houston that he wouldnt have become the dominant pitcher he was the last few years. Houston really had a knack for turning pitchers’ careers around. Dunno if they cheated to do so, like once rumored, but still, the Yankees took talented pitchers (e.g Sonny Gray) and almost ruined them. Maybe with this new pitching coach the Yankees have Gerrit Cole will be able to maintain/improve upon his performance.
I also still think the Pirates were absolutely crazy to make such demands from the Yankees when they ended up accepting a much lower package in terms of value from Houston.
If he reverts back to his Pirates days, that would be fine. His career FIP in his 5 years with the Pirates was 8th behind Scherzer. He now has the 6th best FIP. What happened to him in the Astros was what happens when you put a top pitcher in a top team. If his Pirates days was his worse, the Yankees have nothing to worry about.
I’d agree, it’s Rendon. Cole will have the biggest impact this season, just because LA lacks pitching. When you look at need though, LA needed Rendon more than NY needed Cole. Plus, as said, Rendon is giving you something almost every game, over 162. Position players are more valuable that way, and far less of a risk.
Mediocre player? Cole? Sure the contract is two years too long but teams don’t get into bidding wars over average players.
No Soup For Yu!
If Jordan Lyles’ market was any indication, apparently they do, but you’re correct in that they don’t get into ridiculously large bidding wars for average players. Maybe a bidding skirmish is more accurate to describe Lyles’ market.
Somebody is salty.
If they get a title, Cole is worth it, IMO
Mindless, so you’re happy, good for you.
I may be a bit old school, but i do prefer putting assets into a position that I’d see every game use out of like a position player. So for those reasons I like the Rendon deal. If you asked me to pick between the pitchers however, I love the Cole deal for the Yankees. This is an example of seeing you have a window of a championship for the immediate next 3 years and striking on it. While I still the nationals will be good, their window isn’t as wide open in a crowded NL East. So i’d have to go Rendon, Cole, and Strasburg (though less of a gap between cole and stras than there is between Rendon and Cole).
No Soup For Yu!
Even ignoring the obvious risks of paying a pitcher that much vs. a position player, based off on-field value alone Cole was a big overpay and Strasburg just hasn’t been healthy enough to warrant such a large contract. In his 5 most recent years he’s only once eclipsed 180 innings and that was this year. Rendon is younger than Stras, isn’t signed for as long as Cole, has a great track record of durablility, is a position player who will play every day and there’s less of a risk of him blowing his arm out and making the contract an albatross. Rendon, full stop.
I think it hugely depends on how you determine what “successful” means for these contracts. I think Rendon might have the best shot at being good for the duration of his deal but I think Cole probably has the best shot at pushing his team (The Yankees) over the top to win a WS in the next few seasons. I think by the end of Cole’s 9 years however he could potentially become a burden – or at least just a ‘mediocre’ pitcher not worth the kind of $ he’ll be making in his mid/late 30s. But assuming he provides the type of seasons he has recently with the Astros for the Yankees for the next 4/5 seasons I think that NY might be willing to swallow the last 4/5 being ‘overpays’ especially if they win a championship (or multiple) in the next few seasons. I think no matter how you look at it the Strasburg deal is the worth of the group. I think he comes with the highest risk – both injury wise and potential downward progression during his contract wise. He pitched very well last year but not exceptionally so… and so if he even begins to decline it’s possible he could become a 4.00+ ERA pitcher before the mid point of this contract is even reached. Unless as his velocity declines he sort of ‘reinvents himself’ which is possible — but if not I think there’s a big risk in that he and the Nationals could be in store for a rough final 2-4 seasons of his massive deal.
“He pitched very well last year but not exceptionally so”
Damn, following up an 18 win 200+ IP 251K 1.038 WHIP 4.48 K/BB season with one of the best Postseason pitching performances ever, capped with a World Series title/MVP isn’t exceptional? Tough crowd.
Hitter for 7 years = less risk than a pitcher for 7 or 9 years
How do you figure? Playing more provides more opportunity to be injured. Not necessarily “less” risk
The act of pitching isn’t a natural motion though, whereas with a position player there’s no real risk other than just that chance of injury that comes with taking the field. If Rendon gets hurt though, he misses some time, gets right, and very likely returns the same player. With pitchers, if a shoulder goes, man, you just never know…
There’s truth to that. But still doesn’t equal less risk.
Rendon is best value, but commiting that money to him wolnt work out with LAA’s need for pitching.
offseason is still young!
But there’s lots of ways to build a winning pitching staff. Small market teams have proven that year after year. The narrative is always the same. Good pitching but no offense.
Strasburg’s injuries scare me. He’s out.
Cole on an over pay with an eye towards immediate ring or rings vs almost certainly better production per dollar in Rendon.
I’ll go Rendon, but see why the Yanks went so far for Cole.
Steven St Croix
Like everybody, I think the pitchers got overpaid and the best value is Rendon. Saying that, I don’t think the Angels will be playoff contenders. Especially in a division with Houston and Oakland. They assured themselves 5.5 runs a game and a 3rd place finish in the west.
I voted Rendon but I gotta say I’m surprised hes the overwhelming choice thus far. Thought Cole would have been the favorite here but anyone who doesnt agree that was overpay is in denial. As far as Stras, I dont see how anyone could logically believe that was the best deal.
Option D. None of the above.
That was the exact option I was looking for. I’d like a poll asking which will be the first contact the fans want their team to get out of? Second? Third? Last? We’ll all be regretted in over/under 3½ years?
I don’t feel that Rendon will age well. I voted for Strasburg.
he is not a pure power hitter. he hit lots of singles and doubles. he can have one more contract with the rangers at the end of the current one if he desires.
The great player who will play every day. That one.
9 year deal for a pitcher is insane. I wish Cole the best in NY, but there’s a ton a ton a ton risk there.
7 years would’ve been a logical amount of years.
Strasburg deal is better than Coles.
Strasburg will be over two years older in the last year of his deal than Cole will be in his.
Cole is 2 years younger than Strasburg with no injury history like Strasburg. They will both be 37 years old the last year of their contracts. Justin Verlander was 37 this past season and just won the Cy Young.
The Yankees know they overpaid for him, but they needed to. They were dominated by the Astros in the playoffs. After winning Game 1, the Yankees lost 4 of the next 5. . They was particularly dominated by Cole. The Astros had Cole ready game 7 but they didn’t really need him.. It is rare in today’s game if you get 5 years of 200 plus innings without injuries particularly when you throw as hard as Cole.. Cole has had more wear and tear when you consider the playoffs and the number of strike outs. I would be willing to bet money that he will have arm problems within 3 years. Maybe this year, maybe next year, but definitely by year 3.
Depends on which team, the Yankees, Angels, or Nats, wins the most World Series in the next 7-9 years. Looking at the three teams, right now I’d have to say it looks like the Yankees are set up to win the most.
Rendon by far. I never believed that Strasburg was leaving Washington if he got a good offer and the Angels might need pitching but money and years for Cole was ridiculous. Granted that Cole was the best pitcher on the market and I understand the AAV for the years but feel it was 2-3 years too long. Maybe that is what it took to get him to commit but with all the issues that pitchers can have with their shoulder or elbow I would never want to go that long or to the age he will be on a pitcher just from a risk management point.
I picked Strasburg because he’s staying put. Knows the envirioment. Has other rotation help. So not All of the pressure is on him. He’s comfortable enough there.
I think Cole will do great. Struggle. And flame out semi early. It’s just too long of a contract for a Pitcher. A true test and experiment. I’m curious how it all turns out.
Rendon I think will struggle alittle in that ballpark. Maybe 25 homers a year. But paid as an MVP Candidate. Overpay. For sure. But only maybe by 5 mil a year or so. He’s good. Make no mistake.
I picked Stras too for the same logic that it’s harder to predict how a player, even great ones like Cole and Rendon, will adjust to a new environment. Also, Stras successfully transitioned this year from a power pitcher to a control pitcher (dropping use of the fastball to 28% after throwing it half the time when younger). I’m no expert, but this seems to suggest he will remain effective as his velocity drops over time, assuming he can stay healthy. Cole is amazing, but his rise from very good to unhittable is generally attributed to refinements in his high fastball (generating 220 misses last season which is the most ever). Hard to predict how that pitch will hold up with age or if Cole will make the transition Stras had to make. Finally, Rendon is so wonderfully enigmatic it wouldn’t shock many Nats fans if he retired in 4 years, leaving $100M on the table, to spend more time with his kids. He’s a super quirky dude.
holy crap. the Angels actually made a good sign via the poll
Is None an answer
The MLB should fine the Astros $20M, forfeit the first 2 rounds of draft picks for 2 years, and spot them 20 losses to start the 2020 season. That’ll let the entire league know the deuces are wild, baby.
Huh? So they will not play the first 20 games? How can you “spot” any games in a professional sport?
Cole figures to begin half of his games with a lead, with that lineup.
Cole is only going to pitch on the road?
Rendon. Always bet on the elite position player.
Are we talking best for the player or best for the team. If it’s the team then the Strasburg contract is the winner because of the smaller number and the Nats habit of backloading. If it’s the player then I’d call it a draw between Rendon and Cole.
Of all 6+ year deals, the highest percentage that have worked out are pitchers.
No one knows but what we do know that the yanks were already good and are now better. The Nats are not as strong as they were . The Angels are better but have not improved a crummy SP crew.
The Angels just ensured they will have the best defense in the league, if they stay healthy. The Angels should scrounge first Hader, Miller types and spend like crazy on a deep bullpen instead of chasing the front end arms. Then try to catch some wild card luck.
The Yankees are so stacked everywhere, it almost doesn’t make sense for any other AL team to go for the gusto next year. Tanaka might be their 4th starter next year!
The Nats are betting on the NL east continuing to under perform. Stras helps them run it back if their assumption is right.
I like all the signings because they help all the teams get closer to a goal, while sticking to a plan. Unlike the Harper and Machado signings last year.
Hey!! Yankees here. They did that exact same thing for the last many years, and truth of the matter – starting pitching wins more World Series titles than defense and bullpen.
If the Yankees turn in two Championships in his 9 year contract. It’s a win in their eyes. Add the fact NYers will turn out to see Cole in bunches, revenue increase draw on apparel,tickets and concessions.
No Soup For Yu!
If they win even one championship during this contract it’s a win for the team. Pujols may be crippling the Angels now, but if he had carried them to a World Series in the first few years of his contract then Angels fans wouldn’t be complaining about him as much. The contract would still be an albatross, but a single championship would lessen that burden in the eyes of fans I think. Cole would be no different, though more than one championship would obviously be welcome, and preferred.
Exactly, because the Yankees just did exactly the same thing in 2010s that they did 1980s, fail to win a World Series despite winning the most games in the decade.
The question is: which deal will work out the best? 57% said rendon. The angels still have no pitching so how does paying AR 245M benefit the angels at all?
Usually the best time to assess how a contract worked out is at the end of it, not 45 hours after it’s been signed, 4ish months before opening day of the first year of it.
What fun is there in knowing that? It is a hypothetical a of course after the fact you would know – that is just how all things work.
I’ll always vote for the hitter in this situation. If you asked me which pitcher was a better deal, psh… idk. I think the cost is soooo freaking high on both and they are both overpaid. Ask me in a couple years and we’ll see who’s worth there money. I’d venture to say, neither
The Adrian Beltre
Not a chance any of them will compare to Scherzer’s value. Two Cy Young Awards with five top five finishes(four in the top three) and a World Series title in five years, and he’s still got two more years…
Rendon, but I do believe that Cole and Strasburg will workout well for the Yankees and Nationals, respectively.
Schilling's Ketchup Sock
I would hate to pay a 38 year old pitcher 30 million plus