General Manager Brian Cashman told Andy Martino of SNY on Monday night what we all figured would be the case this offseason: the Yankees will be players in the sweepstakes for both free-agent starting pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.
Brian Cashman confirms yankees will be in on Cole and or Strasburg. This ain’t Harper/Machado
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) November 12, 2019
Mark Feinsand of MLB.com has the full quote from Cashman:
Asked of his interest in Cole and/or Strasburg, Brian Cashman said: “Of course were going to talk to Strasburg, we’ll talk to Cole, we’ll talk to the higher-end guys, clearly. We’ll also talk about some surprise guys, I’m sure … Anybody would have interest in players like that.”
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) November 12, 2019
Obviously, it remains to be seen if the Yankees actually end up making a major play at one of the two arms. Both are probably going to warrant at least 6-8 years and $180 million to $260 million this offseason, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Yankees, specifically Hal Steinbrenner, are willing to commit big money over a lengthy time.
Cole and Stephen are both definitely worth the hype. Both are true aces and two of the top starting pitchers in all of baseball. Adding one of them to the Yankees’ starting rotation instantly makes the Yankees title favorites in 2020.
Cole, who turned 29 in September, is coming off the best season of his career in 2019. Across 33 starts, he went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA, 2.64 FIP, 2.48 xFIP, and a 2.62 SIERA—all elite numbers. The right-hander also struck out 39.9% of batters (13.82 K/9), while only walking 5.9% of batters (2.03 BB/9) in 2019.
Cole also produced 7.4 fWAR in 212 1/3 innings pitched. Over his last 13 regular season starts, he posted a 1.51 ERA, 1.90 FIP, 2.26 xFIP, and a 2.22 SIERA, along with a 43.6% strikeout rate (14.35 K/9). Simply masterful. This will all probably end up netting Cole the 2019 AL Cy Young award.
Meanwhile, Strasburg turned 31 in July and recently opted out of his contract with the Nationals that would’ve paid him $100 million over the next four years. He should be able to surpass that this offseason.
The 2019 World Series MVP went 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 3.17 xFIP, and a 3.49 SIERA in 2019, along with a 29.9% strikeout rate (10.81 K/9) and a 6.7% walk rate (2.41 BB/9). He accrued 5.7 fWAR in 209 innings pitched.
During the postseason, Strasburg was outstanding, pitching to a 1.98 ERA in 36 1/3 playoff innings, along with a 47/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In a win-or-go-home Game 6 in Houston, Strasburg flirted with a complete game, going 8 1/3 innings to help the Nationals reach a Game 7—which they would later win in exciting fashion.
Again, it’ll be interesting to see if the Yankees end up offering enough money to these two guys and are able to land one of them. One thing is for sure, however, and that is that the Yankees will have plenty of company in their attempts to sign one of the two this offseason with teams like the Dodgers, Phillies, White Sox, Angels, and more looking to make starting pitching upgrades.
Something to also note here is that Brian Cashman isn’t usually this direct when discussing free-agents. He specifically said Cole and Strasburg’s name. That’s some 2008-2009 offseason type stuff. Buckle up. Get ready. Here we go.