Earlier this offseason the Yankees were said to be pushing to acquire Gerrit Cole from the Pirates. Those rumors cooled, but the Yankees are still reportedly interested. Their interest is now being matched, Jeff Passan of Yahoo says, by the defending champ Houston Astros.
Passan reports that Houston is dangling outfielder Derek Fisherin the talks, although he says the Pirates would want more, which makes sense. The Yankees, of course, have a loaded farm system themselves, so the Pirates are in a decent position to have two of the best teams in baseball bidding against one another.
Cole went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 196/55 in 203 innings across 33 starts for the Pirates in 2017. He is only two seasons removed from a 19-8, 2.60 campaign in 2015, and he’s still just 27, so adding him would go a long way toward strengthening either club’s rotation. For Houston, it would give them an outstanding 1-2-3-4 punch with Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers. Keuchel, of course, becomes a free agent after the 2018 season, so Cole could help cushion the blow of him leaving, assuming he leaves.
Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.
Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”
Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.
Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.