Power may have been restored at Tropicana Field in more ways than one on Thursday evening. Shortly after the lights went back on, Angels first baseman Albert Pujols mashed a no-doubt two-run home run to left field off of Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough, boosting the Angels’ lead to 3-0.
The homer marked the 200th for Pujols as a member of the Angels. He hit 445 with the Cardinals. According to STATS LLC, he is the sixth player to hit at least 200 homers with two different teams. The others:
- Jimmie Foxx: Philadelphia Athletics (302), Red Sox (222)
- Mark McGwire: Oakland Athletics (363), Cardinals (220)
- Rafael Palmeiro: Rangers (321), Orioles (223)
- Ken Griffey Jr.: Mariners (417), Reds (210)
- Manny Ramírez: Red Sox (274), Indians (236)
Pujols entered Thursday’s action batting .236/.313/.448 with 11 home runs and 35 RBI across 230 plate appearances. Adjusting his OPS for league and park factors, 2019 is shaping up to be his most productive season since 2016. He has a 102 OPS+ compared to 91 last year, 80 in 2017, and 113 in 2016.
A future first-ballot Hall of Famer, Pujols currently sits sixth on Major League Baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard at 645. Assuming he stays healthy, he could surpass Willie Mays (660) this season to move into fifth place.
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.