One day after Stephen Strasburg officially received a record $245 million deal with the Washington Nationals to open the Winter Meetings in San Diego, Gerrit Cole left it in the dust, agreeing to a nine-year, $324 million contract with the New York Yankees, Jon Heyman of the MLB Network announced late Tuesday night.
Mark Feinsand, also of MLB Network, said Cole’s deal includes a full no-trade clause.
Speaking in his annual Winter Meetings availability earlier in the day, Cole’s agent, Scott Boras, said the righthander could make his decision in the “very short term,” and he did.
The Yankees, Angels, and Dodgers had been linked to the Southern Californian, with the New York Post reporting Houston — where Cole went 35-10 with a 2.68 ERA the last two seasons and posting a 2.17 ERA in seven total postseason starts — was mulling whether to enter the chase.
ESPN previously reported that the Yankees, who reset their luxury tax penalties in 2018, had Cole as “their clear offseason priority.”
“I can’t guarantee we’re going to wind up with the player,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said earlier on Tuesday. “I can just guarantee a championship-caliber effort on our part.”
Angels GM Billy Eppler, meanwhile, told reporters his team has the payroll space to add “multiple contracts” worth more than $20 million per year.
No Rendon, but Nats stick together
A day after bringing back Strasburg for $245 million, Washington continued its efforts to keep as much of its World Series roster intact as possible, formally announcing new deals for free agents catcher Yan Gomes and infielder Howie Kendrick.
Gomes agreed to a $10 million, two-year deal, while Kendrick will earn $6.5 million next season under a contract that includes a mutual option for 2021.
The 32-year-old Gomes split catching duties in 2019 with Kurt Suzuki and hit .223 with 12 homers and 43 RBIs in his first season in Washington.
Kendrick, 36, batted .344 with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs during the regular season, then was a major reason the Nationals won the franchise’s first championship. He is expected to spend time at first base and second base next season.
As for the team’s biggest remaining free agent, slugger Anthony Rendon, Boras said all the clubs in the running for the 29-year-old have him “in an appropriate level, in the seven-year range.”
Those teams reportedly include the Rangers — who’ve reportedly made the native Texan and former Rice University standout a top priority as they open a new ballpark — Dodgers, Phillies, Angels, and Atlanta Braves.
Washington ownership said last week they would be unable to re-sign both Strasburg and Rendon, who hit .319 with 34 home runs and a 1.010 OPS last season, his seventh with the team which drafted him sixth overall in 2011. The Washington Post reported Tuesday afternoon that the Nationals are looking toward free agent Josh Donaldson, who hit 37 homers in a value-reestablishing year in Atlanta, as a potential Rendon replacement at third base.
Didi to Phillies
Shortstop Didi Gregorius and the Phillies agreed to a one-year, $14 million contract, according to multiple sources, where he’ll reunite with Joe Girardi, his former manager with the Yankees.
New York’s primary shortstop the past five seasons missed the first two months of 2019 due to Tommy John surgery, following an elbow injury he suffered in the Division Series against the Red Sox in 2018. He his just .238, with a .718 OPS in 82 games that was his worst season in the Bronx.
From 2015–18, Gregorius hit .274, averaging 20 home runs and 146 hits per season.
A Giant pitch
San Francisco signed right-hander Kevin Gausman to a one-year deal, according to The Athletic, the former Orioles first-round pick getting $9 million, plus a potential $1 million in incentives.
“I would expect us to add at least one starting pitcher here and by here I don’t mean necessarily in San Diego, but there’s a good chance we do that,’’ Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said prior to the Gausman news. “We’re having multiple conversations on that front. Pitching is a big priority here for us as it is for a lot of teams. It has been a major focus for us leading up to this and I expect us to be busy this week.’’
Those conversations will eventually include Madison Bumgarner, the 30-year-old free agent and Giants stalwart, but there are few signs the team is ready to commit big money to him for the long haul.
“We’re in contact with his representatives and expect to meet with them here,” Zaidi said Monday. “We are in touch with them. We will meet with them in person at some point here.’’
The Giants are looking to move forward with a younger roster and smaller payroll while trying to build back into a consistent contender. Bumgarner went 9-9 with a 3.90 ERA over 34 starts last season after injuries cut short his two previous seasons.
Also Monday, according to a Los Angeles Times report, San Francisco got infielder Zack Cozart and 2019 first-round pick Will Wilson from the Angels for cash considerations. Cozart, a nine-year veteran, hit .190 in 96 games for Los Angeles in 2018-19, his latest season finished in July by shoulder surgery.
Hinch holds back
Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters he has talked to MLB “a couple times” regarding the sign-stealing scandal his Astros are embroiled in, and that all involved are waiting for them to rule. “Everything,” Hinch said in a press conference where he frequently declined comment on the matter, “is in their hands” . . . Right-hander Junior Guerra and Arizona finalized a one-year contract that guarantees $2.65 million. Guerra, who turns 35 in January but is still three years shy of free agency, was 9-5 with a 3.55 ERA in 71 relief appearances last season for Milwaukee . . . Longtime Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, 34, and the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Pacific League have agreed to an $8 million, two-year contract . . . San Diego and Arizona will play Major League Baseball’s first regular-season games in Mexico City on April 18-19 at Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium, a 20,000-capacity ballpark that opened last year . . . Nike’s logo will be on the upper right chest of Major League Baseball jerseys this year, a far a more prominent position than the Majestic Athletic logo previously on sleeves. A 10-year agreement announced last January replaced a 2016 deal for Under Armour to take over from Majestic, which had been the exclusive supplier of game uniforms since 2005.