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The Gerrit Cole Race

I have misgivings about the Yankees signing Gerrit Cole.

Yes, he is perhaps the top pitcher in baseball. Yes, he would make the Yankees the favorites to win the World Series in 2020. Yes, the Yankees are peaking and would also get two years of peak Gerrit Cole. But I don’t love big dollar contracts. I prefer spreading the wealth on smart, short term deals. I also like the existing rotation (and the kids in AA and AAA).

Having said all that, I think that the Yankees are the favorites to sign Cole.

Everyone thinks that the Angels are the favorites to land Cole because he was born in Orange County and the additional 85 days a year he would spend in his home town will sway him. I don’t buy it. The Angels are a mess and have been a historically poorly run ball club. Cole wouldn’t put them over the top. Cole has still not won a World Series and languishing on the Angels for the rest of his productive years seems like a really bad idea for him even if he would get to hang out with Mike Trout.

I thought that the Phillies would be the logical choice for Gerrit Cole. They love to spend money. They are close to being good enough to contend. But, I also didn’t think that the Yankees would break with their recent history and go after Cole. Without the Yankees in the mix, the Phillies, I think, would be a favorite. With the Yankees in the game, I think not. If Gerrit Cole is going to live on the East Coast and play for a title, don’t the Yankees make more sense than the Phillies?

The Dodgers are the other logical landing spot for Cole. They need a starter to replace Hyun-Jin Ryu. They are on the West Coast. And they have a fantastic team that Cole would only improve. I think that they are the Yankees’ biggest competition in this sweepstakes. I just think that under this regime, the Dodgers have been averse to long term contracts for pitchers. If they decide to go for it, they make a lot of sense for Cole.

The other realistic contenders do not seem to be in a position to spend $35 million plus on a starting pitcher. And I don’t think that Cole is going to play for the likes of the White Sox or the Padres even if they offer him a few more dollars.

It should be a very interesting month or two.


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