The New York Yankees have offered top free agent pitcher Gerrit Cole a contract that’s worth more than Stephen Strasburg’s record-breaking seven-year, $245 million deal, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. The specifics of the Yankees offer to Cole are unclear, Olney notes. Prior to the announcement of Strasburg’s deal on Monday, the Yankees reportedly were set to offer Cole an identical deal.
Strasburg’s contract set a record for the richest ever signed by a pitcher, surpassing David Price’s seven-year, $217 million deal with the Boston Red Sox (though nearly one-third of the pact will reportedly be deferred), and the record for the highest average annual value for a pitcher, eclipsing Zack Greinke’s $32.5 million per year.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that the club’s meeting with Cole was “really good” and a “real joy” on YES Network’s Tuesday broadcast. “Hopefully it’s something that resonated,” Boone said. “It’s kind of a two way street and we’ll see where it ends up.”
Along with Boone, the Yankees contingent in the meeting with Cole were Andy Pettitte, general manager Brian Cashman, and new pitching coach Matt Blake.
Cole was traded to the Astros in January 2018 by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and since then, he’s been pitching at another level. The right-hander put together a remarkable 2019 season, finishing with a 20-5 record (including 16 straight wins), a 2.50 ERA and a league-best 326 strikeouts. Cole, 29, was drafted by the Yankees in 2008 and he grew up a Yankees fan, but he’s also a native of Orange County, California.
The Angels, the other current main suitor for Cole, have said that they are willing to spend this winter, and the club’s biggest concern for the 2020 season is pitching. The Dodgers are in the mix as well. Cole entered the offseason ranked as our No. 2 free agent behind third baseman Anthony Rendon.
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