Right-hander Tyson Ross has been claimed off waivers by the Cardinals, the teams announced Sunday. A corresponding move will be made on Monday when Ross is officially added to the roster. He’s expected to join the Cardinals as they kick off another road series in Miami.
Ross, 31, signed a minors pact with the Padres in the offseason and was guaranteed a $1.75 million base salary after cracking the major-league roster. He posted a 6-9 record in 22 starts with a 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.8 SO/9 through 123 1/3 innings, though his numbers began to balloon after a handful of rough starts during his last month with the team.
Even so, the righty is owed just over $500,000 for the remainder of the 2018 season, making the claim a no-brainer for the Cardinals. They currently sit 7.5 games back of the division lead in the NL Central, but will need to continue strengthening a weakened rotation if they intend to make a serious run at the postseason, especially with Michael Wacha not yet cleared to throw, Adam Wainwright still dealing with elbow inflammation and the oft-injured Carlos Martinez recently sidelined with a shoulder strain.
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.