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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Baseball

Report: Gerrit Cole deal likely to exceed $300 million

Stephen Strasburg’s decision to sign a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Washington Nationals appears to have significantly impacted the market for fellow free agent Gerrit Cole.

Cole, the best pitcher on the market, is now expected to fetch over $300 million, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

The key here is the length of the deal. Strasburg’s $35 million AAV is a new record for a pitcher, but Cole is likely to beat that figure. He also stands a decent chance of getting a longer deal than Strasburg, as Cole is still only 29 and doesn’t have much of an injury history. Even at the same AAV as Strasburg got, an eighth year would take the financial value of the deal to $280 million, and Cole is likely to get a good deal more than that. A ninth year would probably take the deal closer to $350 million, though there’s no indication that’s on the table at this point in time.

Reports indicate that Cole is likely to sign this week, with the Yankees, Dodgers, and Angels cited as being involved in the sweepstakes. One thing is clear: the rumored offer the Yankees were going to put on the table is not going to be nearly enough to get their man anymore.

Report: Cubs, Phillies have discussed Kris Bryant trade

Kris Bryant

Could Kris Bryant be on the move this winter? A new rumor indicates that the Chicago Cubs have, at the very least, not slammed the door shut on the possibility.

According to Bruce Levine of 670 The Score, the Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies have had discussions about a Bryant trade, though discussions have not progressed significantly and nothing appears imminent.

A Bryant trade would be a surprise, but not a total shock. It was rumored that the door might be open on such a deal late in the season, with the Cubs feeling the need to shake things up after a couple years of perceived underachievement and a desire to replenish the team’s farm system. There is also some worry about agent Scott Boras taking Bryant to free agency instead of a potential contract extension.

The Cubs probably aren’t eager to move Bryant, who hit .282 with 31 home runs in 2019. However, this is definitely something worth watching for the remainder of the season.

Report: Gerrit Cole likely to sign this week

Gerrit Cole

The market for free agent pitchers appears to be developing quickly, and the top name on the market could have a new home by the end of the week.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, Gerrit Cole’s market is “developing quickly,” and he is expected to sign by the end of the week.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network added that Stephen Strasburg’s decision to re-sign with the Washington Nationals has intensified Cole’s market.

The New York Yankees are considered the clear favorites for Cole, but their reported $245 million offer is unlikely to be enough to get the job done in light of Strasburg signing the same contract. Cole’s value is through the roof right now, and interest seems high. The situation appears poised to develop quickly.

Sports world pays tribute after Pete Frates loses long battle with ALS

Pete Frates, a former Boston College standout baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012, died this week at the age of 34. He leaves behind an incredible legacy both inside and outside the sports world, and the tributes we saw to him and his family were proof of that.

Frates was the inspiration behind the popular “Ice Bucket Challenge” in 2014, which involved people dumping buckets of ice water on their head and nominating friends and family to do the same in order to raise money and awareness for ALS. It became a viral sensation in 2014 and helped raise millions of dollars for ALS research.

Frates always maintained a great sense of humor while fighting ALS. He focused his time and attention on helping others who are battling the disease and created the Peter Frates Family Foundation along with his friends and family. After the news of his passing spread, many took to Twitter to praise Frates and his family.

Frates was nominated for TIME’s “Person of the Year” in 2014. He is survived by his wife Julie, daughter Lucy, father John, mother Nancy, sister Jennifer, and brother Andrew.

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals reportedly agree to new 7-year contract

Stephen Strasburg

The Washington Nationals and ace Stephen Strasburg reportedly have agreed to a new deal to bring the pitcher back to D.C.

The Winter Meetings are taking place in San Diego this week, which is Strasburg’s home town. Teams are negotiating with free agents during that time, and the Nats and Strasburg apparently reached a deal, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman. ESPN’s Jeff Passan says the deal is for 7 years and worth $245 million. The deal may contain deferred payments, which is how Strasburg’s previous contract was structured.

Strasburg originally signed a 7-year, $175 million contract in May 2016. He opted out of the four years he had left on his deal (2020-2023) after winning World Series MVP for the Nats, in order to pursue a new contract.

Even though teams like the Padres and Phillies were said to have interest, the expectation always was that Strasburg would reach a new deal to remain with Washington.

Strasburg is coming off arguably his best season ever. The 31-year-old went 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA, with a career-high 251 strikeouts. The 209 innings he pitched were the second-most of his career. He was also dominant in the postseason, going 5-0.

Adam Jones considering contract to play in Japan for Orix Buffaloes

Adam Jones

Adam Jones may be taking his game international.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported this week that Jones is talking with the Orix Buffaloes about signing a multi-year deal to play in Japan. The agreement could come this week.

Jones is 34 and batted just .260 with 16 home runs and a .727 OPS last season with Arizona. That came after spending the previous 11 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, for whom he was a 5-time All-Star.

Jones had a hard time finding a job but received $3 million from Arizona last season. The market may be even harder on him this offseason, which is probably why he is considering Japan.

Madison Bumgarner reportedly wants more than $100 million over five years

Madison Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner is one of the top starting pitchers remaining on the free agent market, and there are several teams that are interested in signing the left-hander. Ultimately, it may come down to who is willing to meet Bumgarner’s asking price.

Bumgarner’s representatives have told teams the 2014 World Series MVP is seeking a five-year deal worth more than $100 million, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.

While Bumgarner is coming off a down season in which he posted a career-worst 3.90 ERA, he still made 34 starts and struck out 203 hitters in 207 innings. He’s also one of the best postseason pitchers in MLB history. That should be appealing to contending teams, which is why one top NL team has supposedly made signing him a priority this winter.

There are concerns that Bumgarner’s stuff isn’t quite what it used to be, but he’s still only 30. Zack Wheeler, who is 29, just signed a five-year, $119 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. It makes sense that Bumgarner would want a similar contract, and he does not appear to be willing to take a hometown discount to return to the San Francisco Giants. He should have no problem getting $100 million.