The Astros have indicated they are exploring the possibility of keeping Gerrit Cole. But if an agreement can’t be reached, is Stephen Strasburg an option?
Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are the top two starting pitchers available on the free-agent market this offseason. Yesterday, Astros‘ owner Jim Crane stated that they were going to “take a run at” re-signing Cole. But there is a very real possibility that may not transpire, after all, there is going to be stiff competition.
So if you can’t get the best pitcher out there, why not go after the second-best, Strasburg. You know what they say, if you can’t beat the other team, take their players. I might have made that up, but why not? Plus, to make the negotiations easy, they both have the same agent, Scott Boras.
Strasburg, at 31, is two years the elder of Cole and most likely won’t demand as long of a contract and he would undoubtedly be the cheaper option. Well, cheaper may not be the right choice of words, a few million less per year anyway. Most pundits are placing Cole in the $33-$35 million/year range while Strasburg may be somewhere between $25-$30 million.
What’s interesting is the two pitchers have very similar careers. They have both been selected to the All-Star Game three times and both were in the top ten in the voting for a Cy Young Award. But the similarities don’t stop there.
- Cole’s Career: ERA – 3.22 WHIP – 1.129 W-L% – .644 ERA+ – 127
- Strasburg’s Career: ERA – 3.17 WHIP – 1.086 W-L% – .659 ERA+ – 130
Those are just a few of the statistics and there are quite a few other numbers that are close in comparison. Yes, Cole has had two unbelievably good seasons here in Houston. But can some of that be contributed to pitching coach Brent Strom and the Astros’ analytical department?
Cole isn’t the only pitcher that seemed to have had their careers and stats surge after their arrival to Houston. Look at Charlie Morton‘s and Justin Verlander‘s improvements while under the tutelage of Strom. Who is to say that the same can’t happen to Strasburg if he were to don the Astros uniform?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Cole standing on the mound here at Minute Maid Park. He is my definite first choice. But sometimes we can’t have it our way and we may have to settle. I don’t think to have Verlander, Strasberg, and Zack Greinke as your 1-2-3 starters in the rotation is settling too much.