In our preview of Wednesday’s action, we noted that both the Braves and the Twins were baseball’s only teams yet to win a game this season. That remains true as both teams were shut out: the Braves 3-0 to the Nationals, and the Twins 3-0 to the White Sox. The Twins have further set the mark for the worst start in franchise history, while the Braves are inching closer to matching their franchise record worst start of 0-10 in 1988.
The Braves were simply overmatched by Tanner Roark, who pitched seven shutout innings on four hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Roark starting was supposed to be a good thing, as Stephen Strasburg was scheduled to start but was scratched due to an illness. Braves starter Matt Wisler was undone by a pair of fourth-inning homers: a solo shot by Stephen Drew, and a two-run round-tripper by Jayson Werth.
Meanwhile, the Twins couldn’t convert on any of their opportunities as White Sox starter Carlos Rodon gave up three hits and five walks in six innings. Jerry Sands boosted the White Sox lead to 3-0 with a two-run homer in the seventh off of Phil Hughes.
The run differentials through eight games…
- Scored: 22 runs (2.75 per game)
- Allowed: 49 runs (6.125 per game)
- Differential: -27 runs (3.375 per game)
- Scored: 13 runs (1.625 per game)
- Allowed: 33 runs (4.125 per game)
- Differential: -20 runs (2.5 per game)
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.