UPDATE: FOX 26 Sports’ Mark Berman reports that Vogelsong is currently in Houston, which is an indication that he could be in town for a pre-signing physical. However, the free agent pitcher said he’s not ready to comment on his situation with the Astros.
6:50 p.m. ET: After acquiring Evan Gattis from the Braves last week and swapping Dexter Fowler to the Cubs today for Luis Valbuena and Dan Straily, the Astros might have another move up their sleeve soon.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Astros are in “serious discussions” with free agent right-hander Ryan Vogelsong. Houston projects to have Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Scott Feldman, and Brett Oberholtzer in the first four spots in their rotation, but they are still looking for some back-end depth. Straily gives them another option, but the Astros could opt to stash him in the minors.
Vogelsong, 37, posted a 4.00 ERA and 151/58 K/BB ratio in 184 2/3 innings across 32 starts with the Giants last season. He has also been linked to the Rockies in recent days.
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.