The final game of the 2019 MLB season was played on October 30 when the Nationals defeated the Astros 6-2 to win the World Series. A month after that date not much had happened regarding free agency in the MLB. The White Sox made the first splash signing catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million dollar deal on November 21. Yet, once December struck, the free agent stove got much hotter.
On December 2, third baseman Mike Moustakas was signed by the Reds for $64 million over four years. Two days later, the Braves signed Cole Hamels to a one-year, $18 million contract, the Orioles traded starting pitcher Dylan Bundy to the Angels, and the Phillies made a big splash signing starting pitcher Zach Wheeler to a four-year contract worth $118 million. Then just yesterday, the Astros moved Jake Marisnick to the Mets for two minor league prospects. There have been several other small deals, but these are the ones that have created the most headlines and they have all occurred over the last week.
What about the New York Yankees? Yankee fans got some exciting news at the beginning of the week when they found out the team would be meeting with free agent starting pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg. In the eyes of most Yankee fans, these are the only two free agents that matter going into 2020 as some think Cole is one of the best free agent pitchers in the sport’s history and Strasburg is coming off of a great year and a dominant World Series performance.
Brian Cashman got started early this offseason. It was reported earlier this week that he would be meeting with Cole and Strasburg in California. Cashman brought along former Yankees and Astros pitcher Andy Pettitte with him to the meeting as well.
In the meetings with the mega free agents, teams identify ways to make the player feel most comfortable -- and along those lines, Andy Pettitte was part of the Yankees' contingent that sat down with Gerrit Cole. A very familiar face in HOU, where Cole pitched the last two years.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 5, 2019
The Yankees haven’t been this focused on a free agent since maybe CC Sabathia going into the 2009 season. Keep in mind Cashman traveled all the way out to California for these meetings the same way he did with Sabathia, he also brought along a historically great Yankee pitcher that won in New York several times while bouncing around to other teams. After these meetings, this is what we know according to Mark Feinsand from MLB Network:
On top of that, here’s what Michael Kay had to say regarding the recent meetings with Cole and Strasburg:
It probably sounds like a broken record hearing that the Yankees do still need pitching even though it was their offense that struggled in the 2019 postseason, but it’s the truth.
It is unclear at this point how much money the Yankees would be willing to give either of these two pitchers, but they will both require a lot. Cole, especially, who is represented by super-agent Scott Boras, will be hunting for a record amount of money. Whether the Yankees are willing to empty the bank is something we’ll have to wait and find out.