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.