First of all, I wouldn't blame Yankees fans for not wanting to watch a single ounce of the World Series that kicks off on Tuesday night in Houston. Jose Altuve's walk-off homer in Game 6 of the ALCS still stings, and after what the Yankees accomplished this season, it was hard to watch that all end this past Saturday.
For those fans that want their last fix of baseball before the offseason, there is a reason to watch.
A few high-profile free agents will feature in the matchup between the Nationals and Astros, and they could find their way in pinstripes depending on how the Yankees want to structure their free agency pursuit this offseason.
So, if you'd like to watch the World Series, keep a close eye on these three players throughout the October Classic...
Astros RHP Gerrit Cole
Cole will be the ultimate prize on the market this winter, and he just so happens to be pitching in Game 1 of the World Series against Nats ace Max Scherzer.
Cole was actually better than the Astros' ace in Justin Verlander this season, leading the MLB with 326 strikeouts and owning a 2.50 ERA over 33 starts. And the Yankees got to experience that in Game 3 of the ALCS when he pitched to the tune of seven innings, no runs allowed, four hits, and seven strikeouts. It wasn't even his best outing with a season-high five walks, too.
At only 29 years old, Cole will definitely cash in as the top free agent on the market. One MLB executive told SNY's Andy Martino that Cole will likely find a deal worth $33-35 million per year over at least seven years. Do the math and that would be the most lucrative contract ever given to a starting pitcher.
He's in his prime, his stuff is at its best, and most importantly, he'd be the bonafide ace the Yankees have been searching for. He's worth the price tag -- it's just a matter of if the Yankees want to write them that big of a check.
Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg
Unlike Cole, Strasburg will have to opt out of the remaining four years on his massive seven-year, $175 million deal with the Nats to become an unrestricted free agent. He would be leaving $100 million on the table to test the market, and after the season he just had in Washington, it may be a smart move.
The three-time All-Star broke 200 regular-season innings for the second time in his career, broke his career-high in strikeouts with 251, and had a 3.32 ERA over 33 starts. His WAR was also 6.3, a notch lower than his 6.4 WAR back in 2017.
Strasburg has an electric arsenal on the mound, and at age 30, he could find a larger deal on the market. As MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince points out, the Padres need a leader at the top of their rotation and Strasburg could return to his hometown San Diego to be that man for them. But the Yankees could also swoop in and bring him to the Bronx to potentially be that guy as well.
Strasburg, though, will focus on topping Verlander in Game 2 -- a start Yankee fans should watch to see if he can handle the brightest of lights in the game on the road.
Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon
The Yankees certainly will focus on bolstering their rotation, but they would be remissed to overlook the best position player in free agency.
Rendon put together an MVP-worthy season, slashing .319/.412/.598 with a career-high 34 homers, career-high and MLB-leading 126 RBI and was a solid glove over at third base.
Do the Yankees really need more offense, though? Looking at the current third base situation, Rendon would be a big upgrade from Gio Urshela and Miguel Andujar, who should be returning in 2020. And after the ALCS, where many saw the Yankees' offense as an "all-or-nothing" group that was looking to mash the ball out of the ballpark instead of getting the base knock, a player like Rendon with a .365 average with runners in scoring position this season would do very well.
Also, if he had that power surge in Nationals Park this season, imagine how many homers he could hit at Yankee Stadium.
Rendon will have his fair share of offers this winter, and the Yankees could certainly back off if the bidding gets high (as it should) after what Urshela produced this season. But maybe a solid World Series performance to cap his stellar postseason numbers could change the Yankees minds, putting another All-Star on their free agency list.