Gerrit Cole Rumors: Star FA 'Increasingly Likely' to Sign at Winter Meetings

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2019

Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole prepares to deliver against the Cleveland Indians during a baseball game in Cleveland, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
Phil Long/Associated Press

Gerrit Cole is "increasingly likely" to agree to a deal during the MLB winter meetings, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.  

The winter meetings run through Thursday in San Diego. The New York Post's Joel Sherman reported New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was planning to arrive Monday, at which point he'd submit a formal offer to Cole's representatives.

Andy Martino of SNY reported the Los Angeles Angels are emerging as the biggest competition for the Yankees and that the Angels are "said to be very aggressive on Cole." MLB Network's Jon Heyman tweeted the Los Angeles Dodgers "perhaps" remain in the hunt.

Cole is "expected" to receive more than $300 million, per Sherman, who said a nine-year, $324 million contract is "not a bad over/under." Stephen Strasburg agreed to a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Washington Nationals on Monday, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.

Strasburg surpasses David Price (seven years, $217 million) for the biggest deal ever signed by a starting pitcher and moves ahead of Zack Greinke ($34.4 million) for the highest average salary.

Cole is a better pitcher and is two years younger (29) than Strasburg. The question isn't whether Cole will surpass Strasburg but instead by how much he'll set the new gold standard for a pitcher.

According to Bleacher Report's Bob Klapisch, the Yankees were prepared to extend an offer that ultimately matched Strasburg's agreement with the Nationals. That might have only been New York's starting point, though, as the team appears to be pushing all of its chips in on the three-time All-Star.

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

Hear Yankees “total focus” right now is on Gerrit Cole. PHI, TEX, LAD, LAA are other teams known to be in but Yankees don’t want to be denied.

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

YES Network's Jack Curry reported the Yankees will make a "very, very competitive offer" to Cole in light of the Strasburg news.

Strasburg coming off the market benefits Cole in two ways. His massive contract provides a rough framework for the teams still pursuing Cole, and those suitors can no longer turn to Strasburg as a contingency plan if they fail to land Cole.

It wouldn't be a surprise if negotiations in the Cole sweepstakes concluded quickly.