Gerrit Cole will be one of the top free agents on the market this winter, but it may be some time before he finds a new home.
According to Andy Martino of SNY.tv, Cole's agent Scott Boras has "indicated" to teams that the right-hander is unlikely to sign before January. Pitcher Stephen Strasburg and third baseman Anthony Rendon, a pair of Boras clients, are reportedly expected to sign before Cole.
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman revealed at the GM meetings on Monday that his team will pursue both Cole and Strasburg.
The first overall pick in the 2011 draft, Cole is coming off his finest season to date. He earned himself a spot among the 2019 American League Cy Young Award finalists by going 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA, striking out an MLB-high 326 batters in a career-high 212.2 innings.
Cole got off to a relatively quiet start to 2019, going 4-5 with a 4.11 ERA through his first 11 starts. However, he finished the year on quite the run. From May 27 to Oct. 15, he went 19-0 with a 1.59 ERA over a 25-start stretch.
His historic streak came to an end in Game 1 of the 2019 World Series, as he allowed five runs in seven innings in a 5-4 loss to the Washington Nationals. He did, however, respond by holding the Nationals to one run on three hits in seven innings in Game 5, giving the Houston Astros a 3-2 series lead.
Washington won the series in seven games, with Cole failing to make an appearance in either of the final two games.
It is widely expected that the 29-year-old Cole will make a run at the largest free-agent contract for a pitcher ever. That could limit his suitors, with Astros owner Jim Crane noting in October his team may not be able to make a "legitimate run" at the ace due to luxury-tax concerns.
Cole has already penned a letter to Houston:
Whether or not the Astros make a serious offer, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels are both expected to be in the mix for the Southern California native.
Boras has been known to wait out the market in order to get his client the best possible deal. Last year, outfielder Bryce Harper did not sign until the end of February. That patience was rewarded with a record-setting 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.
In 2018, pitcher Jake Arrieta remained unsigned into early March before signing a three-year, $75 million deal with Philadelphia.