Rumors

Phillies plan to ‘stay in the mix’ on Gerrit Cole


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

Philadelphia Phillies icon Larry Bowa told PhilliesNation.com earlier this month that if the Phillies add the necessary pitching, they can compete with “the big boys” in 2020.

Of course, that’s easier said than done.

In a tweet on Tuesday morning, The Athletic’s Jayson Stark outlined how the Phillies plan to fix the holes in their starting rotation:

It’s hardly a surprise that the Phillies will focus on the rotation during this offseason. Their failure to add anyone last offseason in favor of young starters Zach Eflin, Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez backfired and played a major role in the team’s failure to make the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season.

The Phillies strategy on Gerrit Cole to stay in the mix relies on other suitors either being priced out or signing someone else. Stark notes that this is similar to how the Phillies treated Jake Arrieta two offseasons ago, although Cole profiles much better now than Arrieta did at that point.

Cole figures to get the biggest contract in MLB history for a free-agent starting pitcher this offseason, and some think he may be searching for a contract north of $300 million. If the Phillies do miss out on Cole, the next best options include Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-jin Ryu. Potential options for the second target include free agents Cole Hamels, Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda, along with trade options such as Robbie Ray and Corey Kluber.

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