No matter where New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman goes, he can't avoid Bronx Bombers fans' desire to call free-agent pitch Gerrit Cole one of their own.
According to ESPN, Cashman said that while he was rappelling down the Landmark Building on Friday, someone taped a sign that said, "Please sign Gerrit Cole," to one of the windows:
Cashman confirmed that he met with both Cole and Stephen Strasburg on the West Coast recently. Cole and Strasburg are considered to be the top two free-agent starters by a significant margin.
Per ESPN's Jeff Passan, the Yankees have made signing Cole their "clear offseason priority" and Cashman has "ownership-level approval to offer him a record-setting deal." The expectation is reportedly that signing Cole could cost north of $250 million.
The 29-year-old Cole enjoyed a career year in 2019 with the Houston Astros, as he went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 326 strikeouts in 212.1 innings. He narrowly fell short of beating out Astros teammate Justin Verlander for the American League Cy Young award.
Cole posted a sub-3.00 ERA in each of his two seasons in Houston, and the three-time All-Star did that once as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates as well.
The Yanks fell in six games to the Astros in the American League Championship Series last season, and it is widely thought that the biggest thing standing between New York and a 28th World Series title is an ace starter.
Cole fits the bill, and signing him would suddenly give the Yanks one of the league's best rotations with Luis Severino, James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka rounding out the top four.