Why Yankees Fans Should Not Get Too Excited About Meetings with Cole and Strasburg
The Yankees are expected to meet with the top two starting pitchers on the market in the next couple of days. Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are expected to make visits with Brian Cashman in California to discuss possible contracts with the Yanks. However, these meetings are probably not going to go the way fans will want them to.
Last off-season, Patrick Corbin paid a visit to Yankee Stadium to sit down with management to discuss a contract. Rumors were flying around that the Yankees were more than likely going to sign the southpaw for a few reasons. First, he was born and raised around the Syracuse area and was a lifelong Yankee fan. Second, the Yankees were very interested in his services. It seemed almost too good to be true. It seemed that there was no way he was signing with any other team. Yet, on December 7, the Nationals announced they had signed Corbin to a six-year pact worth $140 million. Many Yankees fans, including myself, were absolutely shocked. There was no way that Corbin could have turned the Yankees down… unless his meeting with the Yankees was to drive his price up in the free agent market.
Even though pitchers like Cole and Strasburg would more than likely love to pitch for an organization like the Yankees, they might each have other priorities as well. Cole might decide that he wants to pitch close to home in Los Angeles for either the Angels or the Dodgers and wants the Angels to fork over as much money as they can. After all, they have said that they will do whatever it takes to sign Cole. Strasburg is in the same boat. The Nationals will still have a solid starting pitching core if he were to leave, but I believe that Strasburg has his mind set in Washington D.C. The Nationals are more concerned about losing Strasburg than they are Anthony Rendon, so Strasburg will be sure to use this to his advantage and drive his price up via a meeting with the Yankees. Even though he has yet to schedule a meeting with the Nationals, this will more than likely happen after the meeting with the Yankees.
I think, in order for the Yankees to land Cole it might simply mean outbidding the Angels. My prediction is that if Cole receives eight years or more from the Angels, he will take it. This even means that if a team offers a few more million dollars per year for seven or less years, he will still take the Angels’ offer. If the Yankees want to add Cole to the rotation, they will have to offer at least seven years with at least five or six million dollars more per season than the Angels.
As for Strasburg, I do not even see him pitching for the Yankees unless the Nationals make him an offer so bad that he has to refuse. It does not guarantee he will pitch for the Nationals, but his odds of re-signing with them are high.
These two names have been linked to the Yankees since the start of the free agency period. Even though I would love to see one or both of these pitchers in the starting rotation, to me, it does not seem likely to happen.