Thanks to a little help from the Mets, the Cubs rallied for a 6-5 win this afternoon at Wrigley Field to finish off a four-game sweep.
The Mets got out to an early 5-1 lead behind two home runs from Anthony Recker, a solo shot from Wilmer Flores, and a two-run single from John Mayberry, Jr., which chased Travis Wood from the ballgame. However, the Cubs tied things up against Jon Niese by batting around in the bottom of the fifth inning. A throwing error from Wilmer Flores helped open the door for more damage, but Niese gave up four hits and a walk in the frame.
Niese stuck around until the seventh inning when he gave up a one-out single to Dexter Fowler before hitting Anthony Rizzo with a pitch. He was relieved by Hansel Robles, who got Kris Bryant to fly out to right field, but Fowler moved over to third base on the play and eventually came around to score the go-ahead run when Recker was charged with a passed ball during Starlin Castro’s at-bat. Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon followed with scoreless innings to finish off the victory for Chicago.
This was the Cubs’ first four-game sweep at Wrigley Field since May 29-June 1, 2008 against the Rockies and their first four-game sweep against the Mets since August 6-9, 1992.
The Mets are 7-12 since their 11-game winning streak and now sit at 20-15 on the year, just one game ahead of the Nationals in the National League East. As for the Cubs, they improved to 19-15 on the year with the sweep and find themselves five games behind the first-place Cardinals in the National League Central.
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.