While the likes of Yasmani Grandal and Zack Wheeler have already come off the market, this winter’s free agency class is headlined by Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg, who remain on the open market.
Each has been the subject of plenty of interest and speculation, with the Los Angeles Dodgers among the teams linked to the trio. In terms of Cole — widely considered the best pitcher available — the Dodgers have been joined by the L.A. Angels and New York Yankees.
The Yankees have reportedly prioritized Cole in their free agency efforts and may be preparing to submit a record-breaking contract offer to the right-hander.
Despite that, however, the Angels, Dodgers and Yankees appear to be involved in the pursuit of Cole ahead of the annual Winter Meetings beginning, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
The Gerrit Cole sweepstakes is moving to the point where teams will be making initial offers in the coming days, sources tell ESPN. The three favorites remain the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 7, 2019
While every indication has pointed to the Dodgers having serious interest in Cole, Rendon and Strasburg, it’s difficult to envision the club doling out the type of long-term contract most presume will be required to sign either of the starting pitchers.
Particularly so if the Yankees are willing to extend an offer that figures to be in the neighborhood of eight years and in excess of $250 million.
That being said, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has regularly denied operating within any strict set of guidelines. Furthermore, a player of Cole’s age and caliber hasn’t often hit the open market.
Although the Yankees were recently described as having some concern Cole may prefer signing with the Angels or Dodgers — so as to return to his Southern California roots — the storied franchise has prior history with the 29-year-old as they selected him with the 28th overall pick in the 2008 Draft.
Cole wound up spurning the Yankees in favor of attending UCLA, and he was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the first pick in 2011.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events and more!