Yankees Rumors: Gerrit Cole Offered Record 7-Year, $245M Contract by NY

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2019

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros reacts after allowing a run against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning in Game One of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The New York Yankees offered Gerrit Cole a seven-year, $245 million contract in free agency, according to Bob Klapisch of the New York Times.

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Thursday that general manager Brian Cashman had received "ownership-level approval" to put a record-breaking contract on the table for the American League Cy Young runner-up. David Price's seven-year, $217 million deal remains the biggest for a free-agent pitcher.

Klapisch noted the terms of the Yankees' offer would also vault Cole ahead of Zack Greinke in terms of average salary. Greinke signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks in December 2015, which averages a little more than $34.4 million annually.

Although free-agent spending has generally trended downward in recent years, teams have been willing to pay top dollar for elite-level stars on the open market.

The Yankees' aggressive approach with Cole shows how desperately they want to sign the 29-year-old right-hander. Passan reported Saturday going on the offensive could be the best strategy:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

The pace of negotiations for Gerrit Cole is TBD. It could move very fast. It may well hit a snag. A lot depends on the initial offers. But know this: Teams recognize that there is a very strong market and that showing the depth of interest with a strong first offer is favorable.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported the Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels were all in the Cole sweepstakes as well; however, he was the "total focus" for the Yankees.

SNY's Andy Martino echoed the report:

Andy Martino @martinonyc

Several agents say Yankees appear to have back burnered other business while trying to finishGerrit Cole negotiations. This has a CC in ‘09, they won’t be denied vibe

The Dodgers have spared no expense in their pursuit of their first World Series title since 1988, while Mike Trout's 12-year, $426.5 million extension with the Angels showed they aren't lacking in financial might either.

Both L.A. franchises can also use the homecoming narrative with Cole, a native of Newport Beach, California, and one-time star pitcher at UCLA.

The Yankees have an obvious need to sign Cole because he'd address what's one of the few holes in the roster.

Max Wildstein @MaxWildstein

#Yankees foursome of Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ had 8.6 fWAR in 95 games. Gerrit Cole had 7.4 fWAR in 33 games. Now combine all those, in addition to a healthy Sevy: that’s 12-13 WAR added. Get this done, Ca$h. Bring me Cole.

Combine that with the franchise's seemingly limitless well of cash—Forbes valued the Yankees as the second-most valuable sports franchise in the world ($4.6 billion)—and New York is arguably emerging as the strongest contender to land Cole.