The 2019 season has passed us by and is nothing but a memory, and now it’s that time of year when everyone begins to focus on the next season. What will the 2020 roster look like? Who will be re-signed and what trades will transpire in the offseason?
One of the biggest question marks going into next season is who will be the five pitchers in their starting rotation. In 2018, the Astros lost Charlie Morton to free agency and now a year later, Houston is on the verge of losing strikeout leader Gerrit Cole.
As Cole gave his heartfelt goodbye message to Houston, the fans were clamoring for GM Jeff Luhnow and the front office to not let him go. Sign him up to another contract! But as great as that would be, is it really feasible?
Unfortunately, the Astros are already finding themselves cash-strapped with just 19 players on their current 25-man active roster. It would take some miraculous maneuvering to fit a contract the size of what Cole will demand into their payroll. Luhnow has pulled off some pretty spectacular deals, but I think even this one is beyond his realm.
It will take a team with deep pockets to be able to sign what may be a record deal for a pitcher, especially with Scott Boras as Cole’s agent. The teams that fit that description and are in the hunt for a top starter are the Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers and Nationals, just to name a few.
The Nationals will want to replace Stephen Strasburg, who opted out of the final year of his contract. The Yankees got close to acquiring Cole in 2017, so there is an obvious attraction there, not to mention Cole was apparently a lifelong Yankee fan. The Phillies are determined to do whatever it takes to get back into competition with the Nats and the Braves. There are rumors that Cole would like to go back home to the West Coast.
My gut feeling is that Philadelphia is the team that is the most desperate, although you never know what’s going to happen in the offseason. Sometimes a team that no one suspects will come out of the woodwork and snatch up a top free agent like Cole. So if Cole doesn’t sign back up for Houston, which I seriously doubt, my odds on favorite are the Phillies.
Whoever Cole signs with for the 2020 season, I wish him the best of luck. Just please, please don’t let it be the New York Yankees.