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MLB Rumors: Latest on Yankees, Gerrit Cole, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Josh Lindblom

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2019

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - JULY 12:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros throws against the Texas Rangers in the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 12, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The MLB winter meetings have started, and with that comes the promise of a flurry of activity in the coming days.

Several notable dominos have already fallen on the starting pitching market, with Zack Wheeler, Michael Pineda, Kyle Gibson, Cole Hamels and Jordan Lyles all signing new contracts.

However, there are still several impact arms available for teams looking to upgrade their starting rotation, including one of the best pitchers to ever hit the open market.

Here's a quick roundup of some of the latest rumors surrounding the starting pitchers still searching for a new home.

      

Yankees reportedly make a record-setting offer to Gerrit Cole

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 27:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros delivers the pitch against the Washington Nationals during the sixth inning in Game Five of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park on October 27, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patric
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Yankees have long been connected to top-tier starter Gerrit Cole. Now it appears they have now made a concrete offer to the American League Cy Young runner-up.

As expected, it's a big one.

Bob Klapisch @BobKlap

I'm told #Yankees have a seven-year, $245 million offer on the table for Gerrit Cole. Would be a record-setting contract for a pitcher, surpassing Greinke’s $34.4 million AAV. Question is whether #Dodgers or #Angels will go to 8-9 or even 10 years.

Originally drafted by the Yankees with the No. 28 overall pick in the 2008 draft out of high school, Cole instead honored his commitment to UCLA, eventually turning himself into the No. 1 overall selection three years later.

Since joining the Houston Astros in a trade two offseasons ago, Cole has emerged as one of the game's elite pitchers.

In 2019, he went 20-5 while leading the AL in ERA (2.50), FIP (2.64), ERA+ (185) and strikeouts (326) while setting the single-season record for strikeouts per nine innings (13.8) by a pitcher who qualified for the ERA title.

There are only a handful of pitchers of his caliber that have ever hit free agency, so it's not surprising to hear a record-setting salary figure being thrown around.

The Dodgers and Angels are the other teams heavily tied to Cole.

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

The Gerrit Cole sweepstakes is moving to the point where teams will be making initial offers in the coming days, sources tell ESPN. The three favorites remain the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Will we see a decision during the winter meetings?

     

Twins, Blue Jays, Dodgers in on Hyun-Jin Ryu

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 06: Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers in the first inning of Game 3 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on October 06, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Image
Will Newton/Getty Images

One of the more polarizing free agents on this year's market is Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Despite some question marks, teams are already showing interest.

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

#MNTwins are in on Hyun-Jin Ryu. Also: Jays and Dodgers (tho his old team is also looking even higher (Cole/Strasburg)

The 32-year-old is coming off the best season of his career, as he led the National League in ERA (2.32) and ERA+ (179) and finished as the runner-up in NL Cy Young voting.

However, his lengthy injury history raises a red flag when it comes to a potential long-term deal.

While he threw 182.2 innings in 2019, he only managed 213.2 innings in the previous four years, and pitchers rarely become more durable in their mid-30s.

Still, for teams looking for an immediate upgrade to the starting rotation and unwilling or unable to commit the money or years it will take to sign someone like Cole or Madison Bumgarner, Ryu is an appealing alternative.

The Dodgers are the only team he's played for since making his way stateside in 2013 following seven seasons with the Hanwha Eagles in his native South Korea, so that comfort level could give the team a leg up on re-signing him.

Looking at the bigger free-agency picture, he might have to wait until Cole makes his decision if he's serious about leaving the Dodgers, as the teams that miss out on the market's top starter might view him as a fallback plan.

     

Cubs interested in Josh Lindblom

David Goldman/Associated Press

It's no surprise if the name Josh Lindblom is not a familiar one to the casual MLB fan.

The 32-year-old has spent most of the past five seasons pitching in South Korea, where he has emerged as one of the hitter-friendly league's best pitchers.

This past season, the 6'5" right-hander went 20-3 with a 2.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 189 strikeouts in 194.2 innings, leading the Doosan Bears to a title while earning the KBO League MVP honor.

Now the Indiana native is eyeing an MLB return, and multiple teams are interested, including the Chicago Cubs.

Jon Morosi @jonmorosi

Source: #Cubs, free agent Josh Lindblom have had discussions this offseason, but it appears other clubs are more heavily involved now. Lindblom, the 2019 KBO MVP, grew up in West Lafayette, Ind., fewer than 150 miles from Wrigley Field. @MLB @MLBNetwork

With Cole Hamels gone, there's a hole to fill in the starting rotation, and the Purdue product will presumably come cheaper than some of the other top options on the free-agent market.

Interestingly enough, this is not the first time the Cubs have been connected to Lindblom.

Jerry Crasnick @jcrasnick

#Dodgers and #Cubs discussing a Ryan Dempster-for-Josh Lindblom deal, source says.

A Ryan Dempster trade with the Dodgers never came together that summer, and he was instead traded to the Texas Rangers in exchange for third-base prospect Christian Villanueva and a Single-A pitcher named Kyle Hendricks, so it all worked out in the end.

Still, it would be interesting to see this story come full circle.

     

All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.