Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports that the Padres have signed free agent right-hander Tyson Ross to a minor-league deal. The deal has yet to be officially confirmed by the club.
Ross, 30, completed a one-year stint with the Rangers prior to his release in September. The righty labored through 10 starts and two relief appearances, earning a 3-3 record and a cumulative 7.71 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 6.6 SO/9 through 49 innings. His struggles on the mound were compounded by injuries, including a 78-day stay on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation and nearly three weeks lost to a blister on his right index finger.
Cotillo speculates that Ross could pick up where he left off with the Padres in 2016 and compete for a rotation spot in the spring. While Ross’s 2016 run fizzled out in April after he was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, he’s spent some of the most valuable seasons of his career in San Diego, earning his first All-Star nomination in 2014 and producing a career-best 4.3 fWAR in 2015. Assuming he gets the chance to stage a comeback in 2018, he’ll join a rotation that currently features right-handers Luis Perdomo, Dinelson Lamet and Colin Rea and left-handers Clayton Richard and Robbie Erlin.
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.