Yankees starter CC Sabathia earned his 250th career win on Wednesday as the Yankees polished off a series sweep with a 12-1 victory over the Rays. Sabathia went six innings, limiting the Rays to a lone run on three hits and three walks with seven strikeouts. He now holds a 4-4 record with a 4.14 ERA and a 57/24 K/BB ratio over 63 innings on the season.
The Yankees provided Sabathia with plenty of offense, putting up a six-spot in the first inning, including a three-run home run from Gary Sánchez. Gleyber Torres would tack on a grand slam for good measure in a six-run seventh.
Sabathia is the 48th member of the 250-win club and is one of only 14 pitchers with both 250 wins and 3,000 strikeouts. Wins don’t carry the same weight that they used to (even Sabathia agrees), so it will be interesting to see how his Hall of Fame case is handled in five years, as the lefty says he is retiring after the season.
With Wednesday’s win, the Yankees extended their winning streak to five games and have now built up a 3.5-game lead over the second-place Rays in the AL East. The two clubs will meet up again in early July.
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.