With third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. having graduated from prospect lists, shortstop Bo Bichette is the Blue Jays’ new No. 1 prospect. It seems to be only a matter of time until Bichette comes up to the big leagues to join Guerrero.
Some are wondering why Bichette isn’t already up in the majors, including Bichette himself. Per Sportsnet’s David Singh, Bichette said, “Yeah. I’ve done everything they asked me to do. I’ve performed, I’ve put up numbers. I’ve gotten better offensively, defensively, baserunning, as an athlete, as a teammate.” He added, “Everything they’ve asked me to do, I’ve done for the past three years. So, if I’m not ready in their mind, there’s something new that they need to tell me I need to get better at.”
Bichette, 21, has hit .301/.361/.486 with five home runs, 27 RBI, 29 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 192 plate appearances with Triple-A Buffalo this season. MLB Pipeline rates him No. 8 among all prospects in baseball right now.
Currently, Freddy Galvis holds the starting shortstop job. The veteran has a .765 OPS with 15 home runs and 46 RBI in 367 PA on the year. While Galvis is a solid shortstop, the Jays will likely buy him out for $1 million rather than pick up his 2020 club option for $5.5 million. Bichette is the clear future at the position, and the Jays have long since dropped out of contention, entering Tuesday’s action with a 35-60 record.
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.