A Response to Tuesday’s Article: An Update on the Status of Gerrit Cole
On Tuesday morning, I published an article saying that Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are more than likely meeting with the Yankees to increase their market value. Given that this was published before either meeting with these pitchers, I have decided to make a second part to this story, focusing specifically on Cole.
The Yankees sat down with Cole on Tuesday to present their pitch to the 29-year-old phenom. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, there were several people who attended this meeting including Brian Cashman, Aaron Boone, new pitching coach Matt Blake, and former Yankee Andy Pettitte.
Jon Heyman reported that Cole reassured the Yankees that there was no west-coast bias and that he wants to pitch for a winning team. Well, of course Cole is going to say this. Why would he sit down with the most successful team in sports history just to tell them that he is going to pitch for either the Angels or the Dodgers?
Looking at the second part of that statement is intriguing. The three front-runners for Cole’s services all have some excellent qualities, as well as a few downsides.
The Angels have the best player in baseball in Mike Trout. He is an absolute force and has still not reached the age of 30. Joe Maddon is also back in Anaheim and is looking to turn the ball club around. The Angels still have a lot of work to get done. Compared to the Dodgers and the Yankees, the Angels are far behind and need many more pieces to make it work.
The Dodgers are more than likely the best club for Cole, taking into consideration his hometown and chance for team success. The Dodgers are a playoff team that could use a solid postseason starter. Cole would check that box perfectly. The one problem with the Dodgers is that they seem to be the least interested in acquiring Cole, more than likely because of their depth with pitching prospects. If Cole came knocking on their door, they would more than likely begin to engage in talks with him.
The Yankees, of course, have the winning history. Twenty-seven World Championships make them the most successful franchise ever. They also have a young core of players, who have taken them to the ALCS two out of the last three postseasons. Cole is also fond of the Yankee’s new pitching coach Matt Blake. A downside of playing in the Bronx is the climate. It is cold for almost all of April and sometimes into May, which Cole dealt with while playing in Pittsburgh. Another downside to playing in New York will be the media coverage. Cole is the best free agent to hit the market since Max Scherzer, and I would argue Cole is better. If he decides to come to the Bronx, he will have to be ready to face the media if he has a bad start or two bad starts in a row. There is no doubt in my mind that Cole can adapt to the media coverage, but it will be much different than it was in Pittsburgh and Houston.
Cole definitely used this meeting with the Yankees to drive his value up. So far, it seems to be working well, given that Hal Steinbrenner has given Cashman the O.K. to do whatever it takes to sign Cole. Cole is a Scott Boras client, so he will more than likely not sign until January, which gives his market plenty of time to continue to grow in value.
In the end, I believe it is going to be a race between the Angels and Yankees on who gets to sign Cole. If the Yankees play their cards right, which it seems that they have so far, they could possibly get Cole into their rotation. After all, C.C. Sabathia was a west coast guy who bought into the Yankee culture. Why not Gerrit Cole too?