Joe Maddon on Gerrit Cole-To-Angels Rumors: 'I Anticipate Something Like That'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 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

New Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon is no stranger to his team signing a marquee pitching free agent, and he expects the same this offseason.

"We need something like that," Maddon said Monday at Major League Baseball's winter meetings when discussing a potential Gerrit Cole addition, per Jayson Stark of The Athletic. "And I anticipate something like that."

Stark noted the Chicago Cubs signed Jon Lester last time the winter meetings were in San Diego in December 2014. Maddon was the manager of the North Siders at the time, and Lester played a major role in turning them into World Series champions in 2016.

Cole's market is coming into shape after the Washington Nationals re-signed Stephen Strasburg to a seven-year deal worth $245 million, per Jeff Passan of ESPN. Passan suggested such a deal "could have a profound effect" on Cole's market, which could be in the $300 million range.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported Cole will go to the team that offers him the best deal and not make his decision based on geography. In theory, that is not welcome news for the Angels considering the former Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates hurler is a California native who could sign with the New York Yankees.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post suggested the Yankees, Angeles and Los Angeles Dodgers are the teams "on the clock" with a potential Cole decision coming at the winter meetings.

Cole is one of the best pitchers to hit the market in recent history. He is just 29 years old and a three-time All-Star who led the American League with a 2.50 ERA last season to go with a sparkling 0.89 WHIP and 326 strikeouts in 212.1 innings. He was even better in the playoffs and helped lead the Astros to the World Series with a 1.72 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 36.2 innings.

The Angels already have an all-time great anchoring the lineup in Mike Trout to go with other talented offensive pieces such as Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton and Albert Pujols.

Adding an ace like Cole to solidify the staff would help them compete in Maddon's first season at the helm.