After weeks of rumors linking star pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg to the New York Yankees, general manager Brian Cashman has just confirmed that his team will be among the many suitors expected to make offers for both highly-regarded free agents.
As quoted by ESPN, Cashman commented on the Yankees’ interest in Cole and Strasburg during the MLB’s annual general manager meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Monday. While Cashman teased the possibility that the Yankees will be going after some “surprise” prospects in free agency, he stressed that the two pitchers will be among the “higher-end guys” the team will be pursuing ahead of the 2020 MLB season.
“Obviously, [both are] great, talented players that have earned so many accolades along the way — and for good reason. They are some of the premier pitchers the game has seen at this time, so it’s a good time to be them.”
Despite topping the American League East Division with a 103-59 record in the 2019 campaign, the Yankees placed sixth out of 15 teams in the entire AL with a 4.31 ERA, ESPN noted. While the team’s No. 1 starter, Luis Severino, is expected to be healthy next spring after dealing with injuries last season, Cashman stressed that his organization is constantly trying to improve its starting rotation, even with all the other pitchers that could be returning to the team.
“In the end, players like a Strasburg, players like a Gerrit Cole, they’re going to make informed decisions that are in their best interest and in the best interest of their families and stuff like that,” Cashman concluded. “It’s not as simple as going after it and pulling it down, it’s a lot more than just that.”
Out of the two aforementioned free-agent pitchers, Cole produced the better numbers on paper last season, posting a 20-5 record with a 2.50 ERA and leading the MLB with 326 strikeouts while playing in his second year for the Houston Astros. Strasburg won World Series MVP honors for the Washington Nationals, tallying an 18-6 record, a 3.32 ERA, and an NL-best 209 innings pitched for this year’s champions.
The Yankees are not the only organization that has been associated with either pitcher since both of them entered free agency. As reported on Monday by The Inquisitr, the Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly hoping to add Cole to a team that performed below expectations with an 81-81 record in 2019. Meanwhile, Strasburg’s hometown team, the San Diego Padres, has also been linked to the former No. 1 MLB draft pick, with the team’s catcher, Austin Hedges, mentioned as an additional selling point due to his skill in “framing” pitches.