Jered Weaver to make minor league rehab start Thursday

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Angels right-hander Jered Weaver has been out since July 20 with left hip inflammation, but Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports that the Angels have cleared to make a minor league rehab start Thursday with Class A Inland Empire.

Weaver is back to full health, but Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes that he has been “trying to get his mechanics, timing and velocity back to the point that he can be successful.” The 32-year-old had a 4.75 ERA over 15 starts prior to going on the disabled list while striking out only 49 batters in 96 2/3 innings and allowing 16 home runs. His average fastball velocity has checked in at just 83.9 mph (according to FanGraphs).

Andrew Heaney has been great during Weaver’s absence, posting a 1.79 ERA over six starts, and will likely push Matt Shoemaker to the bullpen.

Report: Gerrit Cole has seven-year, $245 million offer from Yankees

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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.