Gerrit Cole Rumors: Astros Believed to 1 of 2 Mystery Teams Pursuing Free Agent

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured 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

One of the "mystery teams" pursuing Gerrit Cole in free agency appears to be one that knows him well, the Houston Astros.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the squad is "contemplating if it should make a late attempt to retain Cole."

The pitcher spent the past two years with the Astros, finishing second in Cy Young voting in 2019 while going 20-5 with a league-best 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts.

As one of the top pitchers in the game, he has unsurprisingly been a hot commodity on the open market.

His agent, Scott Boras, explained Tuesday that the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels were the known bidders, per Greg Wolf of FS1. He added that there were two mystery teams.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network also reported the existence of a mystery team, but he didn't expect anyone to outbid the three big-market squads.

Sherman predicted Cole would make more than $300 million in his next deal after Stephen Strasburg set the market with $245 million on his deal.

Such a deal would put the Astros well over the luxury tax threshold, but it could be necessary to keep them a top contender after they fell short of a World Series title this past season.

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Houston owner Jim Crane said in November that it's a "possibility" the organization goes over the luxury tax to re-sign Cole, per Brian McTaggart of He said the team was going to "take a run" at him in free agency.

The challenge will be outbidding the other interested parties around the league.