MLB Insider Predicts Phillies to Sign RHP Gerrit Cole
Will the Phillies sign highly coveted RHP Gerrit Cole this offseason? One MLB insider recently predicted they will, assuming they offer him the most money.
The Philadelphia Phillies were able to sign Major League Baseball’s most highly coveted player last offseason in outfielder Bryce Harper.
Why not a repeat this offseason to bolster new Phillies manager Joe Girardi‘s roster for his first season with the team in 2020?
MLB insider Ken Rosenthal, of The Athletic, recently predicted such a move: the Phillies signing three-time All-Star RHP Gerrit Cole.
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“The reason I’m predicting this is to make a larger point that the assumption that Gerrit Cole will go to a West Coast team is just an assumption,” Rosenthal said on MLB Network’s MLB Now. “He’s going to go to the team that offers him the most money and the Phillies last year offered Bryce Harper the most money. They spread it out over 13 years, and that’s how they got Bryce Harper.”
The Scott Boras-represented Cole is expected to be offered a record-breaking contract, similar to Harper’s last offseason prior to Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels eclipsing the figure not too long after.
Phillies Managing Partner John Middleton has made it clear that the Phillies are willing to approach luxury tax territory if it means addition(s) would get the Phillies closer to World Series contention, rather than Wild Card contention. The addition of Cole surely would bring the team, who has not made the postseason since 2011, to another level.
Cole, 29, has played seven seasons in the majors, five with the Pittsburgh Pirates and two most recently with the Houston Astros. He has a 94-52 career record, along with a 3.22 ERA, 1,336-to-315 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and 1.129 WHIP spanning 192 starts.
Cole led all of baseball in 2019 in strikeouts (326), ERA+ (185) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.8); he also led the American League in FIP (2.64), en route to a second-place Cy Young Award finish and 10th-place MVP Award finish. The right-hander was just as dominant in the 2019 postseason, allowing only seven earned runs through five starts and 36 2/3 innings, before falling short to the World Series-champion Washington Nationals.
While Rosenthal believes it is “maybe not” realistic to think the Phillies have a chance to sign Cole, the organization still remains in-the-hunt, or “in there,” as he says. Other teams are just as capable to enter the Cole sweepstakes; Rosenthal mentioned the Phillies’ rival and 2019 World Series-champion Washington Nationals as another possibility.
“[The Nationals are] going to have a shot if they miss out on Stephen Strasburg for one reason, because they could offer the most money. It’s a simple equation,” Rosenthal said.
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Cole, a southern California native, has been widely speculated that he will sign with either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Los Angeles Angels this offseason, with the New York Yankees looming as another potential destination.
After all, the Yankees drafted Cole in the first round of the 2008 draft out of high school, however he did not sign and opted to attend the University of California, Los Angeles. Three years later, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected the right-hander first overall.
The Phillies will have to improve their starting rotation this offseason in one way or another; adding Cole would surely “raise the bar” to a level not seen among players in red pinstripes since the prime days of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.