Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings take place this week in San Diego. If the New York Yankees have their way, they'll be able to announce the signing of free-agent ace Gerrit Cole before the meetings conclude on Thursday morning. It's unclear how likely that is, but we're past the point where we can classify the Yankees as having genuine interest in adding Cole to their rotation.
To wit, the Yankees have reportedly offered Cole a seven-year deal worth $245 million, per Bob Klapisch of the New York Times. (Amusingly, our Mike Axisa predicted Cole .)
Were Cole to agree to such terms -- and it's possible that the bidding ends up exceeding that amount, depending on how serious the Los Angeles Angels and/or Los Angeles Dodgers are about landing Cole -- then he would set a new record for the richest pitching contract in league history. At present, David Price and his $217 million contract from the Boston Red Sox holds that title. Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and Zack Greinke are the other pitchers to sign $200 million deals. Greinke is the record holder for average annual value among pitching contracts at $34.4 million.
Cole, 29, was originally drafted by the Yankees out of high school in 2008. He opted instead to attend UCLA, where he improved his stock enough to be picked first overall in 2011. He's thrown at least 200 innings in each of the past three seasons, accumulating a 3.20 ERA (136 ERA+) and 4.78 strikeout-to-walk ratio along the way. Factor in Cole's stuff -- a power arsenal -- and it's easy to understand why the Yankees want him to front their rotation for the foreseeable future.
Cole entered the winter ranked Anthony Rendon.behind third baseman