Report: Gerrit Cole Told Yankees There's 'No West Coast Bias' amid LA Rumors

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2019

FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2019, file photo, Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the Washington Nationals during the first inning of Game 5 of the baseball World Series in Washington. Gerrit Cole, the top pitcher on the free-agent market, was to meet with New York Yankees officials in California on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. General manager Brian Cashman, manager Aaron Boone and new Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake made the trip to speak with the 29-year-old right-hander, a person familiar with the planning said. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the meeting was not announced.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Fear not, New York Yankees fans. Free-agent pitcher Gerrit Cole reportedly insisted he has "no West Coast bias" while he was meeting with the Bronx Bombers.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported the news Wednesday, noting the meeting last four-plus hours. Heyman pointed out the Yankees "have been worried" that the California native would rather play in Los Angeles than New York.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported general manager Brian Cashman, manager Aaron Boone and pitching coach Matt Blake met with Cole on Tuesday.

"And this year the price tag did not scare the Yankees from taking to the road because they know Cole will receive the largest pitching contract ever, likely topping $250 million," Sherman wrote while pointing out the Yankees have been after the powerful right-hander since they drafted him in 2008.

Cole elected to go to UCLA instead of joining New York at the time. After three seasons with the Bruins, he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Pirates, who traded him to the Houston Astros instead of the pursuing Yankees in 2017.

Sherman echoed the sentiment the Yankees were fearful the Newport Beach native would choose either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Los Angeles Angels, but Heyman reported the American League East team had a "very nice" meeting with him and pitched the chance to win in the Big Apple.

Cole is the biggest pitching prize on the free-agency market as a 29-year-old who is a three-time All-Star. He finished with a league-best 2.50 ERA in 2019 to go with a sparkling 0.89 WHIP and 326 strikeouts in 212.1 innings. He was also the ace of the Astros staff on their way to an appearance in the World Series this year, posting a 1.72 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in five postseason starts.

New York figures to be on the short list of World Series contenders in 2020 and surely appreciates the fact Cole thrived in October.