Plenty of big moves have gone down before today, but the first hammer of the offseason has dropped: Gerrit Cole got his expectedly massive 7-year/$245 million with the … what’s that? It was Stephen Strasburg’s deal? Hooooooooooooo baby. Gerrit Cole is still a free agent and he’s about to get PAID.
- Before the offseason started, Strasburg was conservative expected to get somewhere between $170-$190 million, but as time went on, a few rumors had him just around the $200M mark. NOBODY thought he was going to get this much, because, frankly, it’s both a record-setting deal *and* the floor for Gerrit Cole’s contract. And if the Nationals deferrals are really offset by interest (i.e. that’s the true value of the contract), Cole might actually get his $300M over eight years (or whatever), which is just unreal. What a rapid – and unexpected – escalation.
- If you care to play the conspiracy-string game with me for a second, this is where I landed:
Strasburg going back to D.C. means Cole is more likely to end up in New York, which means Dodgers more likely to use their cash on Rendon, which means Rangers more likely to spend on Donaldson, which means the Phillies and Braves will be stuck looking for a 3B with no FAs.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) December 9, 2019
- And if the Braves and Phillies are stuck looking for a third baseman without any options, I think you know what that means. Indeed, Bruce Levine just mentioned that the Cubs and Phillies *have* had talks about a trade for Kris Bryant, but the service time grievance is holding it up.
- For what it’s worth, part of my logic there includes my speculation that the Yankees would not have let Strasburg slip away without thinking they could land Gerrit Cole (Strasburg was the Yankees often-rumored fall back), but the Angels were never as involved in his market. Instead, you might see the Angels turn to the mid-tier of the starting pitching market if they miss out on Gerrit Cole (Hyun-Jin Ryu, Madison Bumgarner, Dallas Keuchel). And since we’ve heard over and over how interested the Dodgers are in spending on one of the big three (Cole, Strasburg, Rendon) this offseason, Rendon feels like a distinct possibility for L.A. The Rangers have deep pockets too, but they’re not going to do battle and win against the Dodgers (plus, it’s not like Donaldson will come cheap/isn’t a nice fallback).
Nats don’t seem confident on Anthony Rendon. Doesn’t mean he’s a goner but the same momentum for a deal isn’t there. Rangers, Dodgers seen as the favorites. Braves, Phillies also looking at 3B, tho probably shorter term.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 9, 2019
- On the Yankees … that offer can come as soon as today, as GM Brian Cashman gets the checkbook ready:
Cashman has landed in San Diego and is expected to make an offer to Cole today. With @JeffPassan saying Strasburg got 7/245 from Nats, have to believe Cole gets 8 years. Yanks saying they will make “very, very competitive offer.”
— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) December 9, 2019
- Elsewhere in the superstar market … Jon Heyman hears that the Indians prefer not to deal Francisco Lindor. Electing instead, as we’ve discussed, to see if they can compete in the first-half of 2020, before looking to move him at the deadline or next winter. That strategy makes plenty of sense, though this remains an interesting thread:
Source: #Braves, #Indians have not discussed Francisco Lindor in trade talks to any substantive extent. This is noteworthy, as Atlanta is one of a handful of teams with the prospects to satisfy Cleveland’s high asking price. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 9, 2019
- It’s not crazy to learn that the Braves, who already have a shortstop, would be less willing to go after Lindor, because the marginal improvement there – vis a vis other teams with interest in paying a premium for a superstar shortstop – wouldn’t be worth the cost. Now, with a hole at third base … (Ah! I can’t get away from it).
- Madison Bumgarner is looking for a nine-figure deal, and after the way the starting pitching market has been ablaze this offseason, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get it. The White Sox, Twins, Cardinals, Reds, Braves, Padres, and Yankees are all said to have some interest.
- Oh, no! Not the Marlins! Castellanos must be heart-broken!
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) December 9, 2019
- Jokes aside, the pricetag for Castellanos could be increasing – not unlike the starting pitching market – and at a certain point, that cost might become too much to overcome when you consider his imperfect fit with the Cubs – though they theoretically remain in pursuit.
- According to Jon Morosi, the Blue Jays have inquired about infielder/free agent Travis Shaw, which doesn’t really have a direct impact on the Cubs, but is just another Brewer (on a long list of Brewers) who might not be returning next season. Of course, after the acquisition of infielder Luis Urias, they’re probably feeling the sting a little less.
- Sergio Romo is drawing interest from a whole host of teams (A’s, Twins, Marlins, Phillies, Red Sox, Giants) and a deal is expected to come down this week at the meetings. I can’t imagine the Cubs will become involved, but I do hope the A’s take him home, if only it makes it slightly more likely that Blake Treinen can fall into the Cubs laps.
- General note on Casey Kelly:
Was briefly in Cubs org, and the scouts dug him (as they always have). Never was able to convert it into successful performance. Could be one of those interest "kinda figured it out overseas" guys. https://t.co/l2NM2pWR3U
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 9, 2019