The New York Yankees’ offer for Gerrit Cole might be record-setting, but it will hardly be enough.
Shortly after Bob Klapisch of the New York Times reported that the Yankees have a seven-year, $245 million offer on the table for the free-agent right-hander, The Athletic’s Jayson Stark revealed that Cole’s deal could go eight years for as much as $250 million to $280 million.
Other sharks are circling in the free-agency waters.
When it comes to a contract of this caliber, only three teams can realistically keep up: the Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Yankees have the backing of ownership to blow past the luxury tax threshold — which owner Hal Steinbrenner was so mindful of last season.
It’s a necessary price to pay for a team on the cusp of seriously challenging for a World Series title in 2020. An ace like Cole will put the Yankees over the top.
The Angels have never been afraid to splash the cash thanks to owner Arte Moreno.
He made Trout the richest player in MLB history back in March, signed a then-32-year-old Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $240 million deal in 2012, and spent $20 million on a posting fee just to sign Japanese dual-threat Shohei Ohtani.
While they’ve spent plenty of cash, the Angels have made the postseason just once in Trout’s prolific career.
Pitching has been a glaring issue for much of that time and Cole could be the guy to help get Trout and the Angels back into playing October baseball.
As for the Dodgers, they are seen more as a wild card in the Cole sweepstakes — at least by Stark’s standards.
They have spent big money on pitching before, inking Clayton Kershaw to a seven-year, $215 million extension six years ago. That was before the team brought in Andrew Friedman as their President of Baseball Operations — which makes it unclear (at least for now) if he’d be willing to shell out that kind of contract.
While Kershaw has been one of the best regular-season pitchers of this generation, he’s fallen short in the playoffs on multiple occasions. That now includes a blown save in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals in which the southpaw allowed back-to-back home runs.
The Dodgers have been the class of the National League for the better part of the last seven seasons as they’ve won at least 90 games in each campaign.
In an act of desperation, Cole could be deemed as the arm to bring the franchise its first title since 1988.
The winner of Cole’s signature will be foraying into unknown territory, though.
In terms of the total value of a contract, the richest deal for a pitcher in MLB history is David Price’s seven-year, $217 million albatross with the Boston Red Sox. So Cole’s new contract will eviscerate that mark.
When it comes to the average annual value, an eight-year, $280 million contract ($35 million annually), would break the mark set by Zack Greinke’s $34.417 million per season payout signed back in 2016.
Those figures would also make Cole’s prospective contract the fifth-richest in MLB history, trailing only Mike Trout ($426.5 million), Bryce Harper ($330 million), Giancarlo Stanton ($325 million) and Manny Machado ($300 million).