Justin Turner
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Dodgers set MLB home run record in five-game span

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While the Twins remain unchallenged at the top of the league’s home run leaderboards, they’re not the only team setting home run records these days. In an 8-3 win over the Braves on Friday, the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, and Will Smith combined for four homers, boosting the club to 22 bombs in their last five games — a new all-time MLB record in such a short stretch.

Cody Bellinger was the first to strike. In the second inning, he saw a 92.2-m.p.h. fastball from Atlanta righty Mike Soroka and dropped it over the wall in right field for a leadoff solo shot, his 41st of the season. It’s the fourth home run he’s managed in his last five games, keeping him atop the leaderboard with Mike Trout, who also happened to register his 41st of the year on Friday.

In the seventh, now down 3-2 to the Braves, the Dodgers tacked on another pair of homers to regain the lead. Max Muncy and Justin Turner went back-to-back against lefty reliever Sean Newcomb — Muncy with a three-run blast, Turner with a 415-foot solo homer — to give the team a cushy three-run advantage. Per MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, it marked the 14th time the Dodgers have gone back-to-back this year: another franchise record.

One inning later, rookie slugger Will Smith followed the home run hit parade with his own, taking Jerry Blevins deep to left field for his 10th dinger of 2019. He’s the eighth Dodgers player to reach double-digit home runs so far this season, following still more impressive feats by Bellinger, Muncy, and Turner, as well as Joc Pederson, Kiké Hernández, Corey Seager, and Alex Verdugo.

Not only did the club set a new five-game home run record, but they also extended their streak to five straight games with four or more home runs. They’ll try for a sixth on Saturday, when they’re scheduled to take on Braves’ right-hander Mike Foltynewicz at 7:20 PM EDT.

Report: Gerrit Cole has seven-year, $245 million offer from Yankees

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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.