Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Remember last October, when we reported that the Yankees did not plan to strongly pursue Manny Machado, and weren't interested in Bryce Harper at all?
Well, we bring more hopeful news today. Slightly.
Our early feel, based on conversations with major league sources, is that the Yanks are expected to engage on Gerrit Cole, for the simple reason that he's currently the best pitcher in baseball and would look great at the top of their rotation.
It appears far more likely, in fact, that the Yanks will pursue Cole than Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, also a free agent after the World Series. With a pair of productive and affordable third baseman in Miguel Andujar and Gio Urshela, a mega contract for Rendon isn't likely.
But even though the Yanks will surely speak with Scott Boras about Cole, and maybe even bid for the pitcher, observers see several obstacles. For one, it's not yet clear what the team's luxury tax guidelines will be.
It's also long been the assumption in the industry that Cole, a California native, will favor a West Coast team. That tempers the hopefulness of any eastern powerhouse hoping to land him.
But the prediction here is that Cole will not want to limit his market, and that he or Boras will soon downplay any notion of a regional preference.
If the Yanks miss out on Cole, as is the general assumption, they will proceed with starting pitching depth that includes high-end starters James Paxton and Luis Severino, a still-effective Masahiro Tanaka, and a rotation filled out by the likes of J.A. Happ, Jordan Montgomery and prospect Michael King.
League sources expect Domingo German to serve a lengthy suspension for an alleged domestic violence incident, but he will of course return.
There are a lot of reasons to think Cole will land elsewhere. But this won't be a quick, Harper-style no thank you, which makes it at least a storyline to watch.