Cole, who finished the regular season with a 20-5 record and 2.50 ERA, almost identical finishing statistics in 2018. The year prior, Cole finished with a 15-5 record alongside a 2.88 ERA. With free agency hitting the MLB this winter, which teams could use Cole’s services? Here are three in mind:
New York Yankees
Back in 2009, the Yankees failed to sign their first-round draft pick in Gerrit Cole. He instead elected to finish his collegiate career as an 18-year old at UCLA. A decade later, could he end up where it all started?
New York is one of the largest markets in the world, and the Yankees are in desperate need of pitching reinforcements for years to come. With Luis Severino facing injuries, Masahiro Tanaka nearing free agency, and CC Sabathia in retirement, Cole could mark the next chapter in the team’s starting rotation.
Although they made it to the American League Championship Series, the Yankees allowed have the 17th-most earned runs (691). The Astros and Cole allowed the 2nd-fewest runs (595). With Cole on the roster moving forward, they would be granted as the clear-cut favorites on an annual basis.
Los Angeles Angels
Cole, who grew up in Newport Beach, was raised as an Angels fan. However, would Los Angeles’ front office be willing to fork up a massive contract to a pitcher?
“I grew up here, watched games when they still had bleachers,” Cole said. “It’s a really unique park. Driving up the 57 today, seeing the Big A, it’s always cool. It’s always special. In an industry where you don’t always get to see your family as much as you would like, getting to hug your mom after the game is nice.”
At the end of the regular season, the Angels ranked 28th in quality starts (22), 25th in ERA (5.12), and have given up the 8th-most walks (576). For a team that desperately needs an ace, Cole addresses the need.
The largest contract the Angels have ever granted a pitcher was Jered Weaver in 2011, when he inked a five-year, $85M deal. Would Cole take a hometown discount to play close to his family?
With Bryce Harper on the roster, the Phillies have the 5th-highest payroll in the MLB entering the 2020 season. With Jake Arrieta exercising his player option, he will be owed $20M next season.
The Phillies struggled to stay in the NL East race, and eventually fell out of the Wild Card hunt as well. However, if Cole was apart of the rotation to start the season, could they have surpassed the Atlanta Braves as the top team in the division?
If Philadelphia can avoid the luxury tax, there’s a lot to look forward to. Harper has given the Phillies a face of their franchise, but they are missing an ace that can be relied on for years to come.
Photo Credit: SB Nation