MLB rumors: Red Sox prez 'ecstatic' about J.D. Martinez; Astros players think Gerrit Cole will land out west

Free agency has officially begun, and with it comes plenty of rumors. We've got you covered with the latest MLB rumors and updates from as 2019-20 free agency gets going. We also have a rundown of all of the key dates in this year's offseason, and check out RJ Anderson's full rankings of the top 50 free agents on the market.

Now, for Tuesday's happenings:

Will Cole land in L.A.?

Right-hander Gerrit Cole put in a career year in 2019 and dominated throughout the Astros' postseason run. Now, Cole will be the most talked about pitcher on the market. He's expected to eventually sign one of the biggest contracts for a pitcher in MLB history.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Cole's Houston teammates believe the Orange County, Calif. native will head to a team out west. Left-hander Wade Miley even went so far to name the Los Angeles Angels as Cole's final landing spot. "I got the Angels, and paying him at least $250 million," Miley said.

On Monday, Astros owner Jim Crane told reporters that going over the luxury tax in order to sign Cole is a possibility. Cole, who did not appear in the Astros Game 7 World Series loss, sported a Scott Boras hat during postgame interviews while speaking to reporters in the clubhouse.

Boras, Cole's agent, also represents fellow top free agents, right-hander Stephen Strasburg and third baseman Anthony Rendon. Last offseason, Boras' top free agent was Bryce Harper, who he encouraged to wait out the market for the best deal. Harper eventually signed a megadeal with the Phillies after spring training had begun.

According to Skaikin, Boras may have some difficulty negotiating a deal with Angels owner Arte Moreno:

Boras and Angels owner Arte Moreno have not always had the best of communication, but both men play the long game. The relationship deteriorated over negotiations for the Angels to retain Mark Teixeira, but that was a decade ago, and Boras placed Matt Harvey in Anaheim last offseason.

...Boras and Moreno should at least be able to agree on whether Cole would sign relatively soon, and how many hundreds of millions that would take. When Moreno spoke with reporters at Joe Maddon's introductory news conference, the headlines focused on these seven words: "The payroll will go up next year."

Moreno did in fact say that the team will be raising their payroll for 2020, but it's still unknown how much. And, if it will be enough to outbid any big market teams also pursuing Cole. Under new manager Joe Maddon, the Angels' biggest concern for the 2020 season is pitching and Cole is clearly at the top of their list.

Red Sox prez 'ecstatic' about Martinez opting in

On Monday, Boston Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez decided to not opt out of the final three years and $62.5 million remaining on his contract. Instead, Martinez will return to Boston for the 2020 season before having the choice to opt out during next winter. With Martinez's decision, the Red Sox face a challenge as the team tries to get under the $208 million luxury tax threshold next year. 

While the team has been public about its intent to get under the luxury tax, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy told The Boston Globe, on Tuesday that getting under $208 million in payroll isn't a "hard-and-fast mandate."

"We've communicated with J.D. that we're ecstatic that he's decided to stay here with the Red Sox," Kennedy told The Globe. "We talked about the desire, the goal of working towards [getting under the tax] but it's certainly not a hard-and-fast mandate.

"[New chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom] and the team will continue to think through different strategies for the near-term and the long-term. It's good to have that [opt-out] issue behind us and now we move on."

The Red Sox still have a winter full of tough decisions ahead of them. And, deciding what the team will do with Mookie Betts will be one of the most important. Betts will be a free agent after the 2020 season, and the Red Sox seem set to listen to trade offers for Betts this offseason.

Katherine Acquavella joined CBS Sports in 2018. Her work has appeared in Yankees Magazine and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's Memories and Dreams magazine. She is a graduate of St. John's... Full Bio

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