MLB rumors: Yankees make Gerrit Cole record offer; Red Sox interested in re-signing Rick Porcello

MLB's Winter Meetings are nearing their arrival, and that means activity on the free-agent market should be ramping up soon. Of course, it's already pretty ramped up by the standards of early December, and Sunday might bring with it some last-minute deals as teams head to San Diego. 

And of course you can get fully up to speed with our updated Free Agent Tracker. As for Sunday's rumors, let's dig in.

Yankees make Cole record offer

We covered this story in more detail elsewhere, but the Yankees have offered Gerrit Cole a seven-year pact worth $245 million, per Bob Klapisch of the New York Times. Presuming Cole signs for that figure (or more, even) he would have broken the record for the richest pitching contract in the sport's history.

Cubs must clear salary

Here's an annoying note if you're a Cubs fan: the team is apparently telling free agents it cannot negotiate seriously until it clears payroll space, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.The Cubs currently have a projected payroll around $183 million, sayeth Cot's Contracts—or right in line with their 2018 Opening Day total, and about $20 million below last year's mark (though obviously that's without any additions).

Speculation around the league has had the Cubs shaking up their roster in a potentially major way, with sources telling CBS Sports that Kris Bryant (among other core players, including Willson Contreras, Javier Baez, and Anthony Rizzo) could be floated in trade talks. It's worth noting that Bryant is in the midst of a grievance over service-time manipulation, which could ultimately impact his remaining team control. Until there's a resolution there, it might be tougher to move him.

The Cubs, by the way, are projected to finish over the luxury-tax line again. The Ricketts family will, presumably, ask Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein to find a way under that threshold to avoid being a repeat offender.  

Red Sox interested in Porcello return

Here's a fun one for Boston fans. The Red Sox have continued discussing a possible reunion with Rick Porcello, per Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.

Porcello is coming off a disastrous season (87 ERA+ in 174 1/3 innings), but expects to be a popular bounce-back candidate. The Red Sox are attempting to construct a roster while slashing costs, meaning they're looking for value deals. Porcello, who turns 31 later this month, figures to still land elsewhere (the Mets have reported interest), yet it makes sense that Boston would at least keep the lines of communication open. Even if the Red Sox fan base would prefer they not.

D-Backs ink Guerra

Earlier this winter, the Brewers non-tendered right-hander Junior Guerra to save some money. On Sunday, the Diamondbacks took advantage of the Brewers' situation, signing Guerra to one-year deal worth $2.55 million, per Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. Guerra has proven to be a quality pitcher who has done it all: started, pitched in long and short relief, and so on. It's unclear what role the D-Backs have in mind for him at this point, but he should prove to be an asset for their pitching staff in some role or another.

Nationals add reliever

Mike Rizzo may have just won the World Series, but he has a lot of work to do this winter—including, potentially, replacing both Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon. Another part of Rizzo's to-do list? Rebuilding his bullpen. Again.

Rizzo added a piece to the puzzle on Sunday, signing right-hander Kyle Finnegan to a big-league deal. Finnegan had been viewed around the league as a coveted minor-league free agent thanks to his track record (he posted a 2.89 ERA and 3.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio last season in the PCL) and stuff (he has a mid-90s fastball and quality splitter). 

Finnegan, 28, has never pitched in the majors. Yet the Nationals' willingness to hand him a big-league deal speaks both, to their belief in his ability to latch on as a middle reliever, and to the market for his services. 

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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