The Phillies will undoubtedly look to upgrade their pitching staff this offseason, and Gerrit Cole could be their highest priority target.
The Phillies have plenty of needs to address this offseason, but none is more glaring than their starting rotation. Outside of Aaron Nola, there has been no consistency. Injuries and poor performance have plagued everyone in the rotation this year.
With that in mind, expect pitching to be a priority of the front office this offseason. While bolstering the lineup was the main goal last offseason, improving the rotation will be at the forefront this time around.
Following the “stupid money” mantra, Buster Olney of ESPN Insider (subscription required) listed the Phillies as a possible suitor for Gerrit Cole, the best pitcher in the upcoming free agency market.
More from Phillies Rumors
- Phillies rumors: Club targets Seth Lugo for possible bullpen role
- Could Phillies sign 2nd former Mets starting pitcher in same offseason?
- Phillies rumor: Dansby Swanson could be club’s alternative to Trea Turner
- Rob Thomson apology hints possible Phillies blockbuster signing
- Phillies rumors: Club likely to land top shortstop on free-agent market
Part of the connection between Philadelphia and Cole is through his agent, Scott Boras. Two of Boras’s clients, Jake Arrieta and Bryce Harper, signed large contracts during previous offseasons. Olney noted that Boras tends to go back to owners who he has good relationships with, like John Middleton, during free agency.
Cole would be a massive addition for Philadelphia.
He leads the American League with a 2.75 ERA and 163 ERA+ and ranks in the top ten of nearly every significant pitching statistic. Cole and his teammate Justin Verlander are the top contenders for the American League Cy Young award. Cole and Nola would be a fearsome top of the rotation.
With that in mind, Cole will be (rightfully) expecting a massive payday. Zack Greinke‘s six-year, $206.5 million deal that he signed after finishing second in Cy Young voting in 2015 is the baseline for Cole’s future contract. Cole could expect to get paid even more as 2020 will be his age-29 season; 2016 was Greinke’s age-32 season.
More from That Balls Outta Here
- Philadelphia Phillies: Most impactful transactions in 2022
- How will Rob Thomson manage the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen in 2023?
- How Phillies’ Ranger Suárez is set to build on 2022 postseason dominance
- What can Philadelphia Phillies expect from Bryson Stott in 2023?
- 3 Reasons to get excited for Phillies’ Craig Kimbrel signing
If Philadelphia does sign Cole to a contract worth upwards of $35 million a year, they will likely have to go into the luxury tax. They have about $57 million of room under the tax next year according to Spotrac, most of which would be absorbed by Cole’s hypothetical contract. That doesn’t leave much room to re-sign arbitration-eligible players or extend Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto.
However, Cole’s services will be highly sought after. Olney also listed the Yankees as a potential suitor who should be motivated after watching their rotation fall apart this season.
The Astros will certainly look to preserve their high-powered rotation and have more than enough room to re-sign Cole.
As we have seen with Arrieta and Harper, Boras isn’t afraid to wait out teams for the contract he thinks that his clients deserve. Expect a long, drawn-out bidding war for Cole’s services with Philadelphia hopefully in the middle of it all.