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)