We are just days away from the beginning of the Winter Meetings in San Diego and it appears the hot stove is already heating up around baseball. Preliminary meetings have been taking place with Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon, and Gerrit Cole with numerous teams involved in the bidding for each of the top names.
The New York Yankees have been widely reported to have ace Gerrit Cole at the top of their off-season wish list, but according to Jon Heyman, they might be scared of Cole picking a Southern California team — Angels or Dodgers — over the Big Apple.
Yankees meet with top target Gerrit Cole in SoCal today. They are all in. But having been rebuffed after drafting him and offering basically a blank check (he went to UCLA instead), they are very concerned he may prefer Angels and Dodgers. NYY will meet w/Strasburg tomorrow.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 3, 2019
Cole attended high school at Orange Lutheran in Orange County, but also attended UCLA in Los Angeles County. The right-hander is born and bred a California boy and he may stay true to his roots this off-season. According to previous reports, however, Cole has no preference either way when it comes to playing for a west coast team or not.
Cole was the runner-up for the American League Cy Young Award in 2019 behind his Astros teammate Justin Verlander, but definitely had an argument as the best pitcher in baseball last season. Cole ended with a 2.50 ERA and 2.36 DRA while striking out 326 batters over 212 1/3 innings of work.
The reports regarding the Yankees being scared of the Angels and Dodgers makes sense as both teams have more spending power below the luxury tax threshold heading into the 2020 campaign.
Expect the news to heat up in the coming days regarding the megastar who appears to be in line for a contract figure over $250 million.