The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels are viewed as the favorites to sign Gerrit Cole, but they might not be the only teams lurking.
Well, it wouldn’t be the MLB offseason if a mystery team didn’t make a last-minute run at top free agent and current New York Yankees target Gerrit Cole. According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, a mystery team has finally emerged in what feels like the final hours.
Hear there’s a mystery team on Cole. Hard to imagine anyone thinks they are coming in late and outbidding the Yankees and 2 LA teams (even if one’s in Anaheim). No idea the identity of said team, but that’s why it’s a mystery.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 10, 2019
This screams “there’s no mystery team at all”. Heyman hedges his bets on it immediately by specifying that he doesn’t think anyone is going to outbid the Yankees and Angels. So fans are to believe that a completely unknown team is suddenly in the mix for Cole this late in the game? And that team isn’t expected to outbid the two publicly aggressive teams in the market?
What makes more sense: a mystery team procrastinating on the biggest free agent of the offseason, or the player’s agent releasing information to stir up the fanbases that want said player?
The answer is likely the agent trying to squeeze more money out of competing teams. It’s important to remember in these cases that information is a weapon in negotiations. Releasing the initial offer from one team only serves to let the other team know what number they have to top.
Scott Boras is trying to set a preposterous record for a pitcher’s contract. Cole is already expected to command over $300 million when he signs. To keep bumping that number up, Boras needs to make it look like there are more interested teams. Increasing the demand for limited supply drives cost up.
But at the end of the day, the Gerrit Cole race comes down to two teams. Whoever offers Cole the better contract is where he will play for the next seven to 10 years.
At this moment, it appears that only the Yankees and the Angels have the resources and the desire to battle it out.