The biggest prize of the MLB free agent class this offseason is right-handed starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. Cole is coming off two outstanding seasons with the Houston Astros.
The New York Yankees need front-line starting pitching and have been linked to Cole. They originally drafted the 29-year-old flamethrower out of high school and tried to trade for him two years ago.
In the past, this would probably be over quickly: the Yankees would simply outspend every other team for Cole. However, things aren’t so easy in baseball these days.
The Yankees have shown an increased frugality in recent years and other teams are opening up their purse strings. Cole is meeting with the Yankees today, but one MLB insider says the team is “very concerned” he won’t sign with them.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Yankees are worried that Cole, a California native, would prefer to sign with the Angels or Dodgers.
Yankees meet with top target Gerrit Cole in SoCal today. They are all in. But having been rebuffed after drafting him and offering basically a blank check (he went to UCLA instead), they are very concerned he may prefer Angels and Dodgers. NYY will meet w/Strasburg tomorrow.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 3, 2019
A three-time All-Star, Cole led the majors in ERA and strikeouts in 2019. He compiled a 35-10 overall record in two seasons in Houston, helping the Astros win the 2018 World Series and reach the Fall Classic again this year.
In addition to Cole, the free agent pitching market features Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Hyu-Jin Ryu and others.