Tag Archives: Cole

The luxury tax; the logo; one more year?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

From MLBTR.com:

The luxury tax bills for the Red Sox, Cubs and Yankees – the three teams that exceeded the $206MM threshold in 2019 – are now public knowledge. The Red Sox owe $13.4MM, the Cubs will pay $7.6MM and the Yankees must surrender $6.7MM, according to Ronald Blum of The Associated Press. As far as actual payrolls go, Boston checked in at $228MM, the Yankees put a $226MM roster on the field and the Cubs spent $220MM, Blum notes.

Neither the Red Sox nor the Cubs made the playoffs in 2019 despite their elite-level spending, while the Yankees lost to the Astros in the ALCS. Now, with the exception of the Yankees (who’ve already made history this offseason with the nine-year, $324MM contract they awarded right-hander Gerrit Cole), those clubs look as if they’re in salary-cutting mode. The tax limit will climb to $208MM next season, and the Yankees will blow past it in the wake of the Cole signing. Moreover, there’s a decent chance the Yankees will outspend the $208MM mark by $40MM or more, which would lead to a 42.5 percent overage tax next year and would cause their highest draft pick to drop 10 spots.

It seems the Red Sox and Cubs would like to avoid the tax, but it remains to be seen whether either will pull off that feat. As things stand, next year’s Red Sox are projected to go beyond $208MM by almost $30MM, while the Cubs will do so by about $6MM, per Jason Martinez of Roster Resource.

It will be easier for Boston and Chicago to duck the tax 12 months from now if they sell off an expensive star or two, which seems possible. The clubs have former MVPs (outfielder Mookie Betts for the Red Sox and third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant for the Cubs) who have come up in trade rumors. Betts and Bryant aside, there are other well-compensated potential trade chips in both cases. Left-hander David Price and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. come to the fore for the Red Sox, while righty Yu Darvish and first baseman Anthony Rizzo join Bryant among high-priced Cubs who may not be untouchable.


You may have noticed the Nike logo on the Yankees’ uniform Gerrit Cole was wearing yesterday at his press conference. I’m not too happy about it, but according to the NY Post,

the reason the swoosh is now located on the front of the Yankees’ uniform is because of MLB wanting to appeal to younger consumers and, not for nothing, a 10-year deal that was valued at, according to sources, more than $1 billion among MLB, Nike and Fanatics.

Money doesn’t only talk, it screams.


Another thing about the Cole signing. It hurts the team that knocked the Yankees out of the playoffs in three of the past five years. You improve yourself, hurt them.

The deal could be even longer and more expensive. There is an avenue in which Cole’s contract would become a 10-year deal for $360 million. If Cole opts out after five years, the Yankees may void the opt out and extend the contract one more year for $36 million, The Post confirmed.

 

Yanks introduce Cole; DFA Adams; Numbers Game.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yankees had their introductory press conference for Gerrit Cole today. Cole will don #45, and Luke Voit, who had the number, will switch to #59.

Voit explains that his brother was a captain on the Army football team recently, and wore #59, so…

To make room on the 40-man roster for Cole, Chance Adams was DFA’d. Adams, a top minor league prospect a few years ago, has regressed. He was 0-1, 7.04 in 7 2/3 IP for the Yanks in 2018 and 1-1, 8.53 in 25 1/3 IP in 2019. Total Yankees’ career: 1-2, 8.18, ERA+55 in 33 innings. He’s 25, so still young, but we’ll see what his future holds.

Pettitte instrumental in getting Cole to NY. Now for other moves.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Hal Steinbrenner called Gerrit Cole five times, but someone else apparently was also very instrumental in getting Cole to sign with the Yankees.

Andy Pettitte, who pitched mostly for the Yankees but who also spent a few years with the Astros, discussed the difference between the teams, how much NY meant to him and helped him, and what a postseason experience—as well as WS titles in NY—meant to him and his career. That supposedly helped tip Cole, who grew up a Yankees and Pettitte fan, to NY.

So Andy, a special consultant, really came up huge for the Yanks in these negotiations.

Now the Yanks turn to other needs. After losing Didi Gregorius to the Phillies, will they be able to keep Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances or Austin Romine?

It looks like a deal with Gardner could be hammered out soon. The concern is that Gardner will turn 37 next August. Gardner did hit career highs in HR and RBI this past season, and since Aaron Hicks will miss at least half of 2020, the Yanks do need a CF.

Betances, who pitched only 2/3 of an inning in 2019, is iffy. Would he re-sign for a year to re-establish value?

Romine is also iffy. Rumors are that the Yanks could be looking at Martin Maldonado, who caught Cole ten times in Houston last year to a 1.57 (!) ERA. Maldonado, 33 and a righty bat, isn’t much of a hitter (.219 career batting average, OPS+ 73) but did win a Gold Glove in 2017 for the Angels. He hit .213-12-27, OPS+ 75 for three teams in 2019. The question about Romine is would he come back to backup Gary Sanchez or does he want to start elsewhere.

Oh yeah, as mentioned in a NY Post article by George A. King III, the Yanks probably won’t be needing that “opener” in 2020 now.


Ken Harrelson, known as the “Hawk”, was selected to the HOF in the broadcasting category—The Ford C. Frick Award. Many may also remember him as a flamboyant 1B/OF for the KC A’s and Boston Red Sox in the 1960s, and in 1968 he led the AL in RBI while finishing third in the MVP voting. He broadcast Chicago White Sox games for many years. He actually broadcast Yankees games in 1987 and 1988.

Yanks get Cole for Christmas

Yankee Stadium Frieze

I have to get ready to go to work, so this will be brief.

The Yankees got their man. Gerrit Cole is a Yankee on a record-breaking deal. 9 years, $324MM. No money deferred, and a no-trade clause. $36MM/yr for 9 years. Cole can opt out after the fifth year of the deal, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.

The Yanks are looking to shop J.A. Happ (see below), so who #5 in the rotation would be next year is up in the air, but the top 4 looks to be Cole, Severino, Paxton and Tanaka. Tanaka as a 4. Sweet. #5 could be Montgomery or German (and we still don’t know what German’s suspension for domestic abuse will be). They also would have Michael King and Deivi Garcia at SWB and Jonathan Loaisiga could be a long man who could start if necessary. There are others, but a front four of Cole, Severino, Paxton and Tanaka is certainly formidable.

From MLB.Com and Bryan Hoch:

The Yankees made Cole their first-round selection (28th overall) in the 2008 MLB Draft, only to see him honor his commitment to UCLA. Selected first overall by the Pirates in ’11, Cole reached the Majors with Pittsburgh in ’13. He was 59-42 with a 3.50 ERA in 127 starts during his time with the Bucs, including selection as a ’15 National League All-Star.

With the Pirates dangling Cole to interested clubs during the 2017-18 offseason, (Yankees’ GM Brian) Cashman again attempted to bring Cole to New York. Cashman balked at including third baseman Miguel Andujar in negotiations, and Pittsburgh ultimately agreed to a four-player package from the Astros.

Cole was 35-10 with a 2.68 ERA in 65 starts for Houston over the past two seasons, earning selection as an American League All-Star both years. He finished second to teammate Justin Verlander in AL Cy Young Award balloting this past season, leading the Majors with 326 strikeouts and a 185 ERA+ while finishing 20-5 with a league-leading 2.50 ERA in 33 starts.

While Cole’s landmark deal will threaten to push payroll past the third luxury-tax threshold of $248 million, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner authorized the outlay understanding that Tanaka, Paxton and possibly Happ could all be free agents after the 2020 season. The Cole signing could increase the Yankees’ efforts to trade Happ, who has been being actively shopped in recent weeks.

 

 

If there is a Plan B, that may need to be changed.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Things have been quiet, and I don’t want to get into rumors, but if the Yankees’ off-season strategy is go after Gerrit Cole, but have a Plan B in case Cole rejects the Yankees offer, Plan B probably needs some alteration.

The top two targets for the Yankees, pitching-wise, are Cole and Stephen Strasburg. The Yanks have met with both, but it is expected that Strasburg will go back to Washington. Cole is a different story.

The Yanks have wanted Cole for a long time. They drafted him out of high school but Cole decided to go to UCLA instead. Then, when the Pirates were shopping him, the Yanks wouldn’t meet the Pirates’ demands (Miguel Andujar for one) and Pittsburgh traded Cole to Houston instead.

Apparently the Yanks told Cole that the money is there. It’s up to Cole, a Southern Californian, to decide if he wants New York.

But if the Yanks can’t get Cole (and it appears, for now, that all their eggs are being placed in that basket), or Strasburg, who is or was the Yankees Plan B?

If it was Zack Wheeler, forget it now. Wheeler signed a 5-yr., $118MM deal with the Phillies yesterday.

Cole Hamels reached a 1-yr., $18MM deal with Atlanta.

There are other Plan B’s out there, like Madison Bumgarner, Dallas Keuchel, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Gio Gonzalez, but they aren’t the WOW factor Cole or Strasburg are.

And if these Plan B’s are off the market when Cole decides, and he decides against the Yankees, what then?

Besides the pursuit of Cole, the Yanks also have to see about re-signing or letting go some of their own—Brett Gardner (most likely will be back what with Hicks going to miss most of 2020), Didi Gregorius (most likely gone), Austin Romine and Dellin Betances.

Of course, Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner may look to the trade market. If that is the case, Clint Frazier and/or Andujar could be names (among others) dangled.

Thoughts on Mgr of Year; CYA winners announced, and Houston’s scandal.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Another blog makes a good point. It may be that a Yankees manager may NEVER be selected Mgr. of the Year because of several reasons. One being the expectations that the Yanks are supposed to be good because of who they are and their financial resources. So if they do well, it was because they were EXPECTED to do well. The manager only did what he was expected to do.

But that wasn’t really the case this year. Yes, the Yanks were expected to do well, but with the team they EXPECTED to have, not a team ravaged by injuries. Severino and Stanton missed almost the whole year each.  Betances and Montgomery the same. Didi two and a half months, Andujar all but a handful of games,  Hicks over half the year and so on and so on. Still, the Yanks won 103 games and the AL East. Still, Boone didn’t get MOY despite managing a M*A*S*H* unit to that victory total.


It is looking more and more like Didi won’t be back. We’ll see, but in reading the tea leaves and insider commentary…


This Houston cheating scandal with the cameras, video cheating, etc. has added another s to the Astros name on various sites. You can guess where that s is going…


The CYA was announced. In the NL, Jacob DeGrom repeats as the Cy Young Award winner, getting 29 of the 30 first place votes.

It is amazing the lack of support DeGrom gets. Take a look at the win totals in these past two CYA winning seasons.

2018 10-9, 1.70, led majors in ERA.
2019 11-8, 2.43. Led NL in strikeouts.

21 wins COMBINED. The Mets are wasting his starts.

In the AL, teammates Justin Verlander & Gerrit Cole were neck and neck with Verlander winning his second CYA. He previously won the CYA in 2011 (and MVP that year too). In addition to two CYA, Verlander also has been the runnerup three times.

Verlander got 17 first place votes and 171 points to Cole’s 13 first place votes and 159 points.

Verlander 21-6, 2.58. Led majors in wins, starts and IP. Struck out 300.
Cole 20-5, 2.50. Led AL in ERA. Led majors with 326 strikeouts.

You could have flipped a coin between the two.

As for Cole, it’s expected the free agent won’t sign until the new year.

 

Yanks hire new catching coach. CC getting in Cole’s ear.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

From the NY Post:

The Yanks have hired a new catching coach, Taylor Swanson. Swanson was the minor-league catching coordinator for the Twins this past season.

Whether Austin Romine is one of them remains to be seen. The free agent may decide he wants to start for another team rather than backup Gary Sanchez on the Yankees.


CC Sabathia may be retired, but he is doing his best to try to get one heck of a replacement for himself on the Yankees. The recently retired Yankees hurler said he has spoken “many times” with Gerrit Cole, trying to put a bug in his ear and sell him on the NY experience. Both are West Coast guys.

Initial rumors of what Cole, this year’s top free agent, could go for are 8 years, and anywhere from $250 to $280 million. Could it even hit $300 million with a ninth year?