MLB Insider: ‘I’m predicting Gerrit Cole to the Phillies’

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal predicted that it would be the Phillies, not a West Coast team, that would ultimately land top free agent Gerrit Cole.

Gerrit Cole is the top free agent available this offseason. (Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire)

On MLB Network’s “MLB Now,” Rosenthal addressed the notion that Cole would ultimately end up in Los Angeles, saying, “The reason I’m predicting [Cole to the Phillies] is to make a larger point that the assumption that Gerrit Cole will go to a West Coast team is just an assumption. 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.”

Like Harper, Cole is a Scott Boras client and is reportedly seeking a contract north of $300 million, which would shatter the record for the biggest contract given to a starting pitcher. The Phillies would likely have to go over the tax for Cole, with roughly $42 million in room and plenty of other holes to fill. But he is the kind of player worth entering the tax for, and owner John Middleton said that they would have no problem entering the tax as long as it was to make the team a World Series contender.

Cole, 29, just narrowly missed out on the AL Cy Young Award in 2019 but is coming off an incredible season. In 33 games, Cole went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and struck 326 batters in 212.1 innings. He was absolutely dominant and is the best starting pitcher available in free agency in recent memory.

In 2019, the Phillies rotation ranked 23rd in baseball with a 7.6 fWAR. Cole alone had a 7.4 fWAR, and would serve as a massive upgrade. He and Aaron Nola would immediately become one of the best tandems in baseball, and the Phillies would instantly become a contender in the NL East for the years to come.


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  1. pamikeydc

    November 30, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Completely disagree w this move and that Insider’s opinion. With Cole and assuming SS resigns w Wash- the phillies pitching still wouldn’t match up w the nationals. They need more!

    Arrieta is a 4,5. Efflin cannot be trusted to be consistent. And I assume Piv and VV will be bullpen or long arm. They need more arms not just one big one

  2. Ken Bland

    November 30, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Off season (hell, even IN season) baseball shows are tough to fill with credible, thought out opinions. Rosenthal’s guess, on EXTREMELY simplified “logic,” stands above the nuts reaction, but it’s SUCH a simplistic view.

    Let’s look at his basis, Bryce Harper, recipient of the then highest bid a year ago. Harper’s a good, maybe as high as great minus player. There were enough teams lined up to pay him, based on reports, in varying terms. The Nats wanted to defer a lot, the Dodgers and Giants offered short term, high AAV. But as I said, Harper’s a good player, with flaws holding him back from absolute consistent stardom. Above all, he’s not a pitcher, a position that carries the 90 per cent of the game reputation.

    When bidding on Cole gets serious, that he’s a pitcher is the separating factor. Enough teams (Phils, Yanks, Dodgers, Angels, Padres, possibly Rangers, Cardinals are a longshot) will step on each other to win the bid. It won’t be like last year when considering what Harper wanted (long term with 1 team) the Phils essentially bid against themselves. This time, the highest bid, which Rosenthal surmises is the winner will go down 2-3 times before Boras submits a suggested take to his client. My guess is the Padres are Cole’s next employer. Highest bid? Close, but not quite, if its not. But it will be a bid higher than at least the first serious offer.

  3. Jeff

    November 30, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    I think they start by getting Price and Betts from Red Sox for McCutchen and Kingery. Follow that up with Cole and you’ve got a staff

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