Free Agent pitcher Gerrit Cole is due to cash in this offseason.
Cole, 29, ended his Cy Young worthy 2019 campaign falling short in the World Series. Now, Cole is the marquee name of this year's free agency class. The Yankees and Angels lead potential suitors to acquire Cole, who led all pitchers with 326 strikeouts last season.
The free agency period began Nov. 4, but notable players rarely sign in the following days. Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper waited until Feb. 28 to ink his then record-breaking deal. Gregg Giannotti says Cole, who shares the same agent as Harper, could do the same in order to receive a substantial offer.
"To me, he's a Boras guy. Scott Boras waits this thing out to get the best offer," Giannotti said. "He's got the Boras hat on 10 minutes after he gets eliminated from the World Series, says 'I'm not an employee of the team.' He is going to go to the team that pays him the most. That to me is the only thing that makes sense. Either the Yankees are going to say, 'This is the guy we are going to break the bank on.
"Forget about some of these bad contracts that we have on the books - the Ellsburys and the Stantons - that means nothing. This Gerrit Cole thing is a different animal and we have to do this. We have to outbid the Angels. Or they're steadfast in their approach which is, 'We're going to take it to this level and if he goes somewhere else, then he goes somewhere else. That's really what Gerrit Cole is about when you're a Scott Boras guy ... It's going to come down to every last dime."
While the Yankees have a rich history of negotiating with the biggest fish in the pond, the Angels are seemingly favorites to land Cole. The Angels conducted a complete rehaul of their coaching staff when they chose Joe Maddon to succeed Brad Ausmus. Former Mets manager Mickey Callaway also joined the staff as a pitching coach.
Boomer Esiason believes Angels ownership is prepared to do whatever it takes throughout contract discussions with the California native.
"I would think (Angels owner) Arte Moreno would pay the most money, the longest contract that they could possibly can to get Gerrit Cole because he's trying to change the story around that team," Esiason said. "The only way you do that is by bringing in big personalities and great players.
"So remember, they've got Mike Trout sitting out there. They just have not found their ways and then when this whole drug thing broke on them, the best way to get out of it is is try to get as far away from it as you possibly can. You do that by distracting everybody and bringing in guys like Joe Maddon, Mickey Callaway and, of course, if you got Gerrit Cole to go along with them that will be a great offseason for the Angels."
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