By Sam Bush
MLB’s offseason is kicking off in a big way, with teams pairing up with prospective free agents in advance of next week’s winter meetings.
And it looks as if the Phillies are already missing out.
The Yankees will sit down with both elit pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg over the next two days, the Athletic is reporting. Other interested teams already have met with or will meet with the two pitchers, who are widely viewed as the best starters in this year’s free-agent class.
The possibility exists that at least one of the pitchers will sign at the meetings, which begin next Monday in San Diego, Strasburg’s hometown. But the Cole negotiations, in particular, seem likely to extend past the meetings and possibly into January.
Cole, 29, has long been an elusive target for the Yankees, who failed to sign him as a first-round pick in 2008, then failed to trade for him during the 2017-18 offseason, when the Astros acquired him from the Pirates.
The Yankees are again making him a priority, sources said. The question is whether Cole, a native of Newport Beach, Ca., would prefer a comparable deal from a west-coast team such as the Angels. Former Astros teammate Josh Reddick predicted during the season that Cole would sign with a team “west of Nevada.”
Strasburg, meanwhile, is expected to draw interest from the Padres, among other clubs, though many in the industry believe he will return to the Nationals. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, speaking to reporters last night at the debut of the team’s World Series video in Washington, D.C., said he has yet to sit down with Strasburg or the team’s other Boras free agent, third baseman Anthony Rendon. Rizzo added, however, that the Nationals have been talking to those players for 10 years.