Player A here is back with the same team he was with a year ago. In fact, it’s the same team he’s been with his entire career. He’s not playing for a new manager. He’s not learning a new position. He’s healthier than he was a year ago at this time, but given that he finished last season healthy, that’s hardly news.
Worse, Player A has played exactly two positions in the majors the last two years. Over the winter, his team acquired new starters at both of those positions.
So, tell me, how exactly is Kyle Blanks “getting a fresh start” with the Padres? Because he has new hitting coaches? Really?
The article even concludes with the fact that Blanks will likely open the season in Triple-A as a result of the team’s additions of Yonder Alonso at first base and Carlos Quentin for left field. Blanks also has some experience in right, but given that the Padres are already planning on carrying Jesus Guzman, Mark Kotsay and Chris Denorfia as backup outfield options, there’s no room for him on the bench.
If this constitutes a fresh start, I’d pass. What Blanks needs, considering that his long-term future is almost certainly at first base or DH, is an actual new start away from San Diego. The 25-year-old has power to spare and still might prove to be a long-term regular, but it’s not likely to happen with the Padres.
Bob Klapisch of The New York Times reports that free agent starter Gerrit Cole has a seven-year, $245 million contract offer on the table from the Yankees. As Klapisch also notes, the deal would set a record for total value and average annual value for a pitcher, besting Zack Greinke‘s $34.4 million AAV and David Price‘s $217 million total.
While it is possible that Cole signs before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday, clients of Scott Boras have tended to sign later in the offseason, so this may be a protracted process with today’s report as a jumping-off point. Both the Yankees’ and Angels’ front offices have received clearance from ownership to break the bank to sign Cole.
Cole, 29, could not have timed having a career year any better. During the regular season, he led all of baseball with 326 strikeouts and led the American League with a 2.50 ERA while also posting a 20-5 record and walking only 48 batters across 212 1/3 innings. He performed brilliantly in the playoffs as well, holding the opposition to seven runs on 21 hits and 11 walks with 47 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings of work as the Astros narrowly missed out on winning another championship.
Cole is entering his age-29 season, so a deal of at least seven years would take him well into his mid-30’s. Teams, especially lately, have been hesitant to commit to pitchers, but as the Nationals showed with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, sometimes it leads to a championship.
For what it’s worth, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports says the Yankees haven’t made a formal offer to Cole yet, though the club plans to make one this week. During this time of year, both sides — front office personnel and player agents — leak details to the press to help establish leverage. What we can generally take from this is that the Yankees are hot for Cole and he’s going to get a record-setting contract from some team, even if it’s not the Yankees.