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Yankees Rumors: Gerrit Cole's Contract Offer Exceeds Stephen Strasburg's $245M

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured 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

The New York Yankees have reportedly made a formal offer to free-agent starting pitcher Gerrit Cole that exceeds the seven-year, $245 million contract signed by Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg.

ESPN's Buster Olney reported the update Tuesday and indicated the Yanks may be trying to outbid the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2019 AL Cy Young Award runner-up. 

Strasburg's deal, which was agreed to Monday, set the new record for both total value of a contract for a pitcher and average annual salary at the position ($35 million). Those records may not last for long.

Cole is coming off a dominant 2019 campaign during which he posted a 2.50 ERA and 0.89 WHIP while striking out an MLB-high 326 batters in 212.1 innings across 33 starts for the Houston Astros.

The Yankees, who could be a true ace away from a 28th World Series title, have been in hot pursuit of the right-hander during free agency. There's been some concern the California native would prefer being closer to his hometown, thus the links to the Angels and Dodgers.

"We know he wants to be a West Coast guy," Astros teammate Josh Reddick told Bleacher Report's Scott Miller in October about Cole, who turned down an offer from the Yankees in 2008 to pitch collegiately at UCLA.

That said, the three-time All-Star told New York at a recent meeting he doesn't have a "West Coast bias," per Jon Heyman of the MLB Network.

Although most of the conversation has surrounded the Yanks and the two L.A. teams, there's also a "mystery team" involved in the process, according to Heyman.

The Yankees are going all out to convince Cole to don the legendary pinstripes, though. That doesn't come as a major surprise since a legitimate No. 1 starter is their biggest need and the other one available on the open market this offseason, Strasburg, has now re-signed with the Nats.

A rotation with Cole, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery combined with an offense that led MLB in runs scored last season despite numerous injuries and a dominant bullpen would make the Yankees the 2020 World Series favorite.

It sounds like New York will do everything in its financial power to make that a reality.

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