This offseason sure has been a lot better than last year’s, hasn’t it? I don’t think I am saying that simply because the Yankees are thick in the middle of it, but honestly, I might be. It has been nice to see some action at the top of the market this early in the offseason, though. There have been actual rumors, a few signings, and some trades. What a concept! Keep it up, everyone.
I’ve seen a few people suggest that this means the market is healthy again. I’m not ready to go that far yet, but it’s nice to see anyway. Anyway, the Yankees have been connected to a lot of the action recently, which is also nice. I’m going to do these posts a bit different than we’ve done news and notes in the past, kind of combining news/notes with our thoughts posts. I think it should work better. We’ll be doing one of these a night–probably around this time–throughout the Winter Meetings. Let’s get right to it.
1. Strasburg Off The Board: The Washington Nationals reeled in the first big fish of the offseason, signing Stephen Strasburg to a seven-year, $245 million contract. That is a lot of money–a lot more than I expected him to get–and is reportedly what the Yankees offered Gerrit Cole yesterday. In other words, it’s both a record deal in terms of average annual value (discounting the Lerner deferments) and in total value. Good for Strasburg, who is one hell of a pitcher. He essentially leveraged his opt-out into a three-year, $145 million extension. Not bad!
I was surprised to see this–can you believe this is Boras’ first client to sign a $100+ million contract in December since Jacoby Ellsbury?–but it makes sense. The Cole market (more on that in a moment) is clearly heating up, the Nationals were clearly prepared to get this done, and Strasburg was clearly going to stay at home. Made all the sense in the world for Boras to push this across the finish line. Now, all those teams in on Cole have no backup plan. About that…
2. Gerrit Cole Update: …yeah, there’s no backup plan now. It’s Gerrit Cole or bust for the Yankees and Angels, and maybe even the Dodgers, too. We learned last week that the Yankees considered Cole their number one priority, even though they liked Strasburg a lot, and that they were prepared to make a “record” offer. The Yankees have been really aggressive with Cole to date and I don’t know if they ever really expected Strasburg to leave the capital but…yeah, that leverage is gone now. There’s a huge gap between Cole and the next best starter on the market, Hyun-Jin Ryu. It really is Cole or bust.
Not much has really changed, though. I think that’s always been the case. But here is the latest on Cole, as of 9:30 pm EST:
- Cole wants 9-10 years at a total value north of $300 million (Jon Heyman, Joel Sherman)
- Some inside the game expect that to materialize for Cole (Jon Heyman)
- The Yankees are making their “very, very competitive” offer to Cole tonight (Jack Curry, Jon Heyman)
- The main competition remains the Angels and “maybe” the Dodgers. (Jon Heyman)
- Cashman is not addressing the media tonight, but will tomorrow. (Lindsey Adler)
- The Yankees are actively shopping J.A. Happ to make the Gerrit Cole financials fit better. (Joel Sherman)
Believe it or not, that’s all the actual, tangible reported news we’ve got on Cole today. He might sign this week, though, and I actually expect it sooner rather than later honestly. Wouldn’t surprise me if it happened later tonight or tomorrow. Last year, this is not. Finally, it’s worth noting that there’s been actual reported smoke to the Angels/Dodgers interest, mostly just speculation. So far, it’s been all Yankees. Make of that what you will.
3. Other Yankee News: Believe it or not, the Yankees are also connected to other players–and former Yankees are also connected to other teams, too. Here is the latest and greatest on all of those players:
- Brett Gardner: A “couple” of teams are interested in Brett Gardner on a multiyear deal, but the Yankees and Gardner are still negotiating. A reunion between the two parties is almost assuredly preferred by both sides. (Jon Heyman) As I’ve said 100 times on this site, I expect this to happen at some point, but I now think it will happen after Cole signs somewhere, not before. Derek will have more on this tomorow.
- Didi Gregorius: The former Yankee shortstop has multiyear options but may prefer a one-year value rebuild type deal (Jon Heyman), with Milwaukee a possible destination. (Jon Heyman) He will probably get $14-15 million, which probably prices out the Reds. (Jon Heyman) Derek covered Sir Didi’s market last week.
- Austin Romine: The catcher has met with the Yankees and has garnered interest from other teams too, though the exact state of his market is unknown. (Sweeny Murti) I wrote about the backup catcher situation and Kyle Higashioka last week.
- Dellin Betances: The best reliever in baseball from 2014-18 is likely going to sign a one-year deal to rebuild his value, and he’s drawn interest from the Yankees, Rays (barf), and possibly the Mets. (Jack Curry)
That’s everything, I think. I hope the Yankees bring back Gregorius, Gardner, and Betances, and maybe even Romine (who tends to be underrated around these parts) but I’ll settle for the first three. The Rays can stay the hell away from Dealin’ Dellin, though, thank you very much.
Around the League
Other teams did stuff today too, and there’s other general baseball news, as you’d expect. Here’s the notable stuff from Winter Meetings Day One:
- The Rangers and Dodgers are courting Anthony Rendon, while the Nats remain interested. (Jon Heyman)
- The Phillies and Cubs have talked about Kris Bryant as the Cubs continue to shop him. (Bruce Levine)
- Cleveland probably won’t trade Francisco Lindor. (Jon Heyman)
- The Phillies are interested in Josh Donaldson. (Jon Heyman)
- A number of teams are interested in Sergio Romo. (Jon Heyman)
- Joely Rodriguez signed a two-year, $5.5 million deal with Texas. (Jeff Passan)
- Minor League baseball players can smoke weed now. (Ken Rosenthal)
- MLB: The Show may be a cross-platform game as soon as 2021, though it’s not clear which platforms to which that refers. (MLB PR)
That’s that, I think. Feel free to yell at me in the comments if I missed anything. Have a good night everyone, though I hope I get to excitedly write one more post before going to bed. That sure would be nice.