The New York Yankees didn’t just bring out the big guns in their meeting with free-agent pitcher Gerrit Cole, they also reportedly brought out the blank check.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Yankees’ front office received approval from ownership to offer Cole a record-setting contract in a bidding war that will surpass more than $250 million.
New York is making Cole its top priority this offseason, even with reported concern that he could follow his roots in Los Angeles and sign with the Dodgers or Angels.
According to Passan’s report, the Angels and Yankees are expected to battle in an intense bidding war for Cole’s services and a deal is expected to blow past David Price’s record-setting $217 million contract from 2015.
Owner Hal Steinbrenner’s willingness to open the checkbook helped lead to the Yankees send Pettitte, general manager Brian Cashman, manager Aaron Boone and pitching coach Matt Blake to meet with Cole.
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Coming off a 2019 season in which he set MLB’s single-season record with a 39.9% strikeout rate and a 34% K-BB rate, Cole is in the perfect position to cash in this offseason. The 29-year-old will become MLB’s highest-paid pitcher. Now, it’s just a question of by how much and who he plays for.
The fact that they all traveled out west to his home speaks volumes about how serious their pursuit is.
Back in 2008, many believed CC Sabathia would only sign with a west coast team but after Cashman and company visited him at his Northern California home CC changed his mind and says if that never happened he probably wouldn’t have signed with New York.
The LA Angels are in the mix to sign him as well and have the money to get him but if all offers are equal the Yanks could be favored because they’re in a better position to win in 2020 and beyond.