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Angels Favored to Sign Gerrit Cole in Free Agency, Astros Given +350 Odds to Retain Pitcher

Gerrit Cole during a press conference
Gerrit Cole is the biggest name in a loaded 2020 free-agent class. Photo by the Houston Astros (Twitter).
  • Gerrit Cole is the most-coveted prize among all 131 players on the free-agent market this offseason
  • Cole has spent two seasons in Houston, but the Astros only have the third-best odds to sign him for 2020
  • The Angels and Yankees are the favorites at +200 and +300, respectively

Now that October has come and gone, and the Washington Nationals have been crowned World Series Champions, attention turns to free agency. The player headlining free agency this year is pitcher Gerrit Cole.

In 2019, Cole put up a 2.68 ERA with 602 strikeouts in 65 regular-season games. During the playoffs, he went 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA and 47 strikeouts. He enters award season as the AL Cy Young favorite.

Odds Where Gerrit Cole Will Land in 2020

Team Odds
Los Angeles Angels +200
New York Yankees +300
Houston Astros +350
Los Angeles Dodgers +500
San Diego Padres +750
Philadelphia Phillies +750

Odds taken Nov. 1

Cole’s Contract Will Break Records

Gerrit Cole filed for free agency Thursday, and is expected to get one of the biggest contracts in baseball ever. The current record for a free-agent pitcher belongs to David Price at $217 million (over seven years). Cole is widely expected to smash that number.

At 29-years old, he led all of baseball with 326 strikeouts, led the American League with a 2.50 ERA, and ended with a 20-5 record. During the 2019 postseason, Cole was 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA and had 47 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings.

Going Back to Houston?

After Houston’s Game 7 loss to the Washington Nationals, Gerrit Cole was the last person who wanted to do a postgame interview, asking officials, “Do I have to do it? Technically I’m unemployed.”

Many people have been looking into that statement, which wound up all over social media, and Cole’s decision to wear a Boras Corp. hat during that postgame interview (his agent Scott Boras’ company).

The interpretation was that he is done with the Astros.

With Astros owner Jim Crane shelling out $30 million a year for Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke each, money is a big reason why Cole is likely headed elsewhere. With the amount that Cole will command, and Jim Crane wanting to avoid the luxury tax, it just can’t be done.

Why Are the Angels and Yankees Favored?

The Los Angeles Angels and the New York Yankees have been given the =best odds to at +200 and +300, respectively. It makes sense with the amount of money each team spends yearly.

Right now, the projected payroll for the Angels is just over $156 million. For the Yankees, it’s just over $200 million. Both had higher payrolls in 2019. This means the Yankees have space to pay Gerrit Cole what he’s projected to get paid. Houston doesn’t have as much room to spare.

With the Yankees losing CC Sabathia to retirement this year and generally receiving underwhelming starting pitching throughout 2019, they are a prime contender.

Who better to bolster their rotation than arguably the best pitcher in baseball, and one who’s already proven that he can do it in the playoffs?

My best bet is that he signs with the Yankees. They seem to always find a way to get the big free agents and their roster is loaded everywhere except in the starting rotation.

Best Bet: Yankees +300

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