SAN DIEGO — Stephen Strasburg went first. It defined a market. If necessary, it let anyone involved in the Gerrit Cole market know what the sub-basement looked like. Because seven years at $245 million — what the Nationals guaranteed to retain Strasburg — is not even the floor for Cole.
He is two years younger than Strasburg. He has a far superior health history. He was better in 2019 than Strasburg, who by the way was great.
So it is not like seven years at $246 million gets it done. For the Yankees, or anyone playing for Cole, this could be eight years — or more. It could be about $300 million — or exceeding it. Cole is a unique free agent. He’s in his prime. October proven. Beloved by scouts and analysts. Chased by the coastal superpowers — and a bunch of teams in between.
Brian Cashman arrived at the winter meetings on Monday with the expectation he was delivering a formal Yankees offer. Multiple people involved in this negotiation said they now expected resolution with Cole before these meetings end Thursday.
So prior to Christmas, we are about to learn what does Cole prefer: location, near-certain contention, who he views as most likely to best…