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Yankees to meet with Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg this week

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Yankees will meet with Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg over the next two days.

Not a shock given that (a) the Yankees need starting pitching more than anything else; and (b) these are the two best pitchers available this year and, indeed, are two of the best in the game.

But don’t expect fireworks this week. The Yankees have played it slow in free agency in recent years, waiting desired candidates out and giving little public indication before making deals. Obviously Cole and Strasburg are much bigger players than those New York has courted recently, but Brian Cashman is unlikely to move too quickly or to allow a bunch of leaks to emerge from the Yankees’ offices before a deal is made. If a deal is made.

At the same time, Scott Boras represents both Cole and Strasburg and his m.o. is to wait out the market for as long as he can and to stir up as much interest — real or exaggerated — in his clients as the winter wears on. Given the Yankees’ needs and their deep pockets, he has to talk to New York whether his clients truly want to go there or if they’d rather both play elsewhere. And, for what it’s worth, there is a lot of reason to believe that both of his clients want to play on the west coast, even if that sort of thing is often overplayed and misreported during the hot stove season.

All of which is to say that, while this is interesting, it’s also likely pretty early in the Gerrit Cole/Stephen Strasburg Sweepstakes.

Report: Mets sign Brad Brach to one-year, $850,000 contract

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets and free agent reliever Brad Brach have agreed on a one-year deal worth $850,000. The contract includes a player option for the 2021 season with a base salary of $1.25 million and additional performance incentives.

Brach, 33, signed as a free agent with the Cubs this past February. After posting an ugly 6.13 ERA over 39 2/3 innings, the Cubs released him in early August. The Mets picked him up shortly thereafter. Brach’s performance improved, limiting opposing hitters to six runs on 15 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings through the end of the season.

While Brach will add some much-needed depth to the Mets’ bullpen, his walk rate has been going in the wrong direction for the last three seasons. It went from eight percent in 2016 to 9.5, 9.7, and 12.8 percent from 2017-19. Needless to say the Mets are hoping that trend starts heading in the other direction next season.