Posted on November 10, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
While things may be slow right now, it’s only a matter of time until the MLB Hot Stove begins to heat up. When it does, there’s little doubt that starting pitcher Gerrit Cole will be the biggest fish in the pond. He’s coming off an outstanding season with the Houston Astros and an even better postseason. Any team with money to spend and an open spot in their starting rotation will be after Cole this winter. Let’s take an early look at each team’s odds of ending up signing Cole.
Angels – 25%
The Angels are believed to be one of the most likely landing spots for Cole. He’s from Southern California and might prefer to come home now that he’s a free agent. Also, the Angels have a dire need for pitching. The L.A. rotation has been hurt by injuries in recent years and lacking a bonafide ace who can stay healthy. Signing Cole would be a huge move for the Halos, as they look to start over with Joe Maddon as their new manager.
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Astros – 5%
On the surface, it doesn’t seem likely that the Astros will be able to keep Cole in Houston. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to try. The Astros know how important Cole was to their success in 2019, so they’ll at least consider breaking the bank to keep him.
Dodgers – 10%
The Dodgers actually have a couple of openings in their rotation to fill this winter, and they’re likely to be shopping at the top of the market. Like the Angels, they can also offer Cole the chance to come home. After not even making the World Series this year after losing the Fall Classic in 2017 and 2018, there may be no limit to what the Dodgers are willing to do to win a championship, so they could end up offering Cole a massive contract.
Nationals – 5%
Stephen Strasburg opted out of his contract and Max Scherzer is getting on in years, so the Nationals could be looking for another ace. Cole is younger than Strasburg and doesn’t have the same kind of injury history, making at least 32 starts in four of the last five seasons. That could make Cole Washington’s top choice over Strasburg if they end up spending money on an ace.
Padres – 5%
After the way the Padres have spent the last two offseasons, you can’t rule them out as a player for Cole. After all, they’re another Southern California team, which could be appealing to Cole if all other things are equal. San Diego’s rotation could use an experienced, bonafide ace, so they could make a serious push for him.
Phillies – 10%
Philadelphia was aggressive last winter with regard to position players, so the Phillies may want to focus on improving their pitching staff. Whether the team would be willing to add another 9-figure contract to the payroll after signing Bryce Harper last winter remains to be seen. But the Phillies certainly appear to be hungry to build a championship club, so they figure to be a factor in the Cole sweepstakes.
Rangers – 10%
The Rangers have money to spend and a new ballpark, so they’d love to make a splash by signing Cole this winter. The team’s rotation is surely lacking an ace, among other things, making the Rangers an interesting dark horse that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Yankees – 25%
Perhaps no team needs Cole more (at least in their own mind) than the Yankees. New York’s rotation was lacking when the playoffs rolled around, and after they couldn’t beat Cole, maybe they can convince him to join them. Again, there are rumblings that Cole might prefer a California team rather than commit to playing in New York during the prime of his career. On the other hand, money talks, and this wouldn’t be the first time the Yankees were able to buy away a player’s concerns about going to the Big Apple. The recently retired CC Sabathia is a great example of that.
The Field – 5%
While some teams surely covet Cole more than others, it’s too early to rule out suitors that may not be obvious on the surface. Teams like the Mariners and Mets could be unpredictable wild cards while there have also been rumblings about the Twins, Cubs, and White Sox getting involved. In short, close to half the teams in baseball could become involved in the competition to sign Cole.