The sweepstakes for impending free-agent pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are about to begin as Major League Baseball teams have until Monday at 8 p.m. to tender contract offers to unsigned players, and if a player is not tendered a contract they will become a free agent.
Cole and Strasburg are likely to become the winter’s biggest free-agent commodities once the deadline passes and free agency officially begins.
The Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers are anticipated to have the inside track to signing either Cole or Strasburg this offseason. Cole is from Newport Beach, California, and attended UCLA before he went to the majors. Strasburg went to San Diego State before he turned pro.
Cole and the New York Yankees have a bit of history. New York selected Cole out of high school when his name was in the draft pool. But Cole spurned the Yankees and opted to go to college instead. He later joined the Pittsburgh Pirates and was traded to the Houston Astros.
Strasburg has only known the Washington Nationals. He was Washington’s top pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. The three-time All-Star won the 2019 World Series MVP award after the Nationals defeated the Astros in seven games to capture their first title.
The common denominator for both players is that Scott Boras is their agent, which means they will both command a ton of money. Both players could see a salary north of $200 million.
Boras downplayed geography being a big factor for Cole and Strasburg in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer last month.
“I don’t think geography matters to any of these guys as much as the continuance of winning and being able to achieve their goal of getting that rare ring,” he said. “And I think in Gerrit’s case, when you’re that close, you’re looking at this process as one where I’ve got a box to check and I want to go out and put together the best effort to put me in that position to do that.”