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Gerrit Cole Rumors: 'Mystery Team' Linked amid Yankees, Dodgers, Angels Buzz

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured 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

There is reportedly a "mystery team" believed to be in the running for free-agent starting pitcher Gerrit Cole.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels are the three teams known to be in on Cole. Heyman noted that while another team is trying to make a play for Cole, it is "hard to imagine" them outbidding the Yankees, Dodgers or Angels.

With Stephen Strasburg signing a seven-year, $245 million deal to remain with the Washington Nationals, the right-hander is far and away the top starter available on the open market.

Cole is coming off a career year with the Houston Astros in which he finished second to teammate Justin Verlander in the American League Cy Young voting. Cole went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 326 strikeouts in 212.1 innings.

The 29-year-old was also strong the previous season, which marked his first campaign in Houston after a trade from the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2018, Cole went 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 276 strikeouts in 200.1 innings while finishing fifth in the Cy voting.

The three-time All-Star has shown over the past two campaigns that he is an ace in every sense of the word, and he would be a massive addition to any team that signs him.

Much of the focus has been on the Yankees since they reached the American League Championship Series last season and are considered one big-time starter away from winning a World Series. By signing Cole, it would allow the Yanks to have a top four of Cole, James Paxton, Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka, which would arguably be as strong as any rotation in the majors.

The Angels also have a huge need in their starting rotation, although they may need more than one starter since they finished a disappointing 72-90 last season.

While the top of the Dodgers rotation is great with Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler leading the way, the possibility that they may lose Hyun-Jin Ryu in free agency means there could be a void to fill.

The team that signs the California native had better be prepared to hand out a record-breaking contract. The Strasburg contract set the new mark among starting pitchers, but since Cole is two years younger, he figures to top it.