We've seen this movie before, haven't we? The Yankees set their sights on a high-profile free agent, decide to be the highest bidder and then land him, right? That's how they landed CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka and now it might be happening with free agent ace Gerrit Cole.
We all know the phase "where there's smoke, there's fire." Well, here's the smoke: Per Jeff Passan of ESPN.com, the Yankees have made Cole their top priority and "have ownership-level approval" to make Cole a "record-setting" deal.
We can take a few steps here and do the math. Given that Cole is a Scott Boras client, a "record" deal definitely moves the needle. The biggest deal in free agency history for a pitcher is seven years and $217 million and that's David Price's deal with the Red Sox from the 2015-16 offseason.
Often times this doesn't really move the needle, but it's probably worth mention that Cole grew up a Yankees fan.
Again, let's do some math. It looks like the Yankees are gonna blow any other offer away by offering a record deal and Cole gets to wear the pinstripes he grew up dreaming of wearing.
Cole, 29, finished second in AL Cy Young voting last season when he went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 326 strikeouts in 212 1/3 innings. He led the majors in strikeouts and AL in ERA.
Cole would obviously slot as the Yankees' ace ahead of the likes of James Paxton, Tanaka, Luis Severino et al. It's not much of a drought by other teams' standards, but the Yankees haven't won the World Series since 2009 and just went their first decade since the 1910s without a pennant. That'll motivate ownership to loosen those purse strings.