According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the sweepstakes for Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are starting to accelerate.
On Monday night, Rosenthal reported (subscription required) that teams will meet with the free agent pitchers, both Scott Boras clients, this week in California ahead of next week’s Winter Meetings. The Yankees are reportedly one of those teams.
The Yankees will sit down with both Cole and Strasburg over the next two days, sources said. Other interested teams already have met with or will meet with the two pitchers, who are widely viewed as the best starters in this year’s free agent class.
The possibility exists that at least one of the pitchers will sign at the meetings, which begin Monday in San Diego, Strasburg’s hometown. But the Cole negotiations, in particular, seem likely to extend past the meetings and possibly into January.
The feeling is that Strasburg will return to the Washington Nationals, although the San Diego Padres could make a strong play for his services.
Cole is the more interesting case. A native of Newport Beach, Calif., many think he’ll sign out West, particularly with the Angels. However, money talks, and the Yankees have been interested in Cole since he was 18-years-old.
The Yankees drafted Cole 28th overall out of high school in 2008, but the right-hander ultimately committed to UCLA. Two years ago, Brian Cashman tried to trade for Cole when he was with Pittsburgh, but the Houston Astros were able to offer a better deal.
We’ll see if the Yankees can open up the checkbook and land the big fish this time around.