Within minutes of the Houston Astros World Series Game 7 loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, the team’s ace righty starting pitcher Gerrit Cole declared that he was no longer part of the team. On Thursday, a pair of oddsmakers began issuing their picks for the organization most likely to sign free agent Cole.
Because the Dodgers, with the 7th-highest MLB payroll, appear to have a bank account fat enough to afford Cole — and the 2019 20-game winner grew up in Orange County, California — Los Angeles has been viewed by some baseball experts as a likely landing spot for Cole.
The oddsmakers’ consensus, however, was that Cole will end up with the team that, despite their name, actually plays in Orange County — the Los Angeles Angels.
The online sports book Sports Betting Dime is now laying 4/1 odds that Cole signs with the Angels, according to NJ.com. The site also calculates the same odds for Cole’s re-signing in Houston, though Cole’s statements and demeanor after Game 7 would appear to contradict that prediction.
The Philadelphia Phillies get 8/1 odds to acquire Cole. The New York Yankees — who in 2008 drafted Cole out of high school in Orange, California, only to see the then-17-year-old attend UCLA instead — are listed at 9/1 by Sports Betting Dime.
The oddsmaking site SportsLine sees an even better chance of Cole ending up at Angels Stadium in Anaheim next season.
Which team will Gerrit Cole sign with this offseason?
White Sox: +1500
— SportsLine (@SportsLine) October 31, 2019
The +300 “money line” posted by SportsLine is the equivalent of 3/1 odds, meaning that a bet of $100 on Cole’s signing with the Angels would pay back $300.
Speaking to reporters in the home clubhouse at Minute Maid Park in Houston, the 29-year-old Cole wore a baseball cap that bore the logo of Boras Corporation, the company owned by his agent, Scott Boras, as FOX Sports reported.
“I’m not an employee of the team,” Cole was heard telling an Astros spokesperson, before speaking with the media, as quoted by FOX. “I guess as a representative of myself…”
Gerrit Cole on his time with the #Astros:
"It was just a pleasure to play in the city of Houston" pic.twitter.com/b1YcwhXKVy
— Daniel Gotera (@DTGoteraKHOU) October 31, 2019
Cole now heads into free agency with the expectation that he could set a new record for a free agent pitching contract, topping even the seven-year, $217 million pact inked by David Price of the Boston Red Sox after the 2015 season.
But few teams in baseball have the financial resources for a contract as rich as the deal Cole appears likely to command. The Astros currently carry the 2nd-highest payroll in the Major Leagues, according to SpoTrac numbers, behind only the Red Sox. But Cole’s statements appear in line with the +2500, or 25/1 odds that he will remain in Houston, as offered by SportsLine.