It seems as if the Cole sweepstakes are moving much more quickly than we expected. ESPN’s Jeff Passan just published a very significant report:
The big story here, obviously, is the scoop that the team has “ownership-level approval to offer him a record-setting deal.” Passan’s sources told him that the Yankees and Angels are “preparing for a bidding war that executives expect will reach well beyond $250 million.” Would you look at that?
It’s now clear that the Yankees are taking a very different approach to the 2019 offseason than they have since they pursued Masahiro Tanaka. It feels like they’re willing to pay whatever it will take. For a pitcher as good as Cole, you’d certainly hope that would be the case. It’s nice to hear after the last few offseasons, though. That’s for sure.
Passan notes that the willingness of both the Yankees and Angels–not to mention the Dodgers, who may also be positioning themselves to make a move (subs req’d)–changes the tenor of the offseason. Manny Machado and Bryce Harper had to wait until the new year before they inked their deals, but that may not be the case for Cole. That makes sense, as, in theory, teams need to know sooner rather than later to plan their offseasons. Might as well get it out of the way now.
I said this in our weekly thoughts post yesterday, but it really has felt like the Yankees are truly all-in on Cole. I get the skepticism but I think it’s time to put it to bed. Their aggression makes sense for every conceivable reason and hopefully, that means this all wraps up sooner rather than later. Times are different than 2008, but it’s worth remembering that CC Sabathia signed with New York on December 10. It’s certainly possible that Cole signs quickly, too.
Anyway, there has been a lot of Cole news the last few days. Here is a quick roundup with all that we know about the Yankees’ pursuit of Cole so far:
- They met with Cole in California on Tuesday. Brian Cashman, Assistant GM Michael Fishman, Aaron Boone, new pitching coach Matt Blake, and Andy Pettitte made up the Yankee contingent, per The New York Times’ James Wagner.
- Matt Blake’s presence was especially notable, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. That’s because Cole is a data-heavy pitcher who wants to pitch for a sophisticated and forward-thinking organization. Passan’s report confirms this, for what it’s worth. (Remember, Cole is interviewing the organizations as much as they are interviewing him.)
- He is their number one offseason priority, according to Ken Rosenthal, Joel Sherman, and now Passan.
- There are numerous reports that the Yankees are afraid that Cole prefers the West Coast, though I personally don’t believe it. That’s what Jon Heyman, and others, have been saying, though.
Not to get ahead of ourselves or anything, but this is very good folks. It’s very good indeed. We’ll keep you posted as things continue to develop.