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Report: Yankees will meet with Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg

Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg

The New York Yankees will meet with free-agent pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg in the next few days.

Via Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:

The Yankees will sit down with both Cole and Strasburg over the next two days, sources said. 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.

Cole and Strasburg are the most coveted pitchers on the market. Cole finished second in American League Cy Young voting and did not lose a single start between May 22 and the World Series. Meanwhile, Strasburg led the National League in innings pitched and dominated the postseason en route to winning World Series MVP.

Although Rosenthal suggests that there is quiet optimism that the Washington Nationals will re-sign Strasburg, the Yankees are intent on pursuing Cole to the fullest. The one question is whether or not he is intent on pitching closer to his Newport Beach, CA hometown:

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.”

The Yankees are likely making starting pitching a priority this winter. Both Masahiro Tanak and James Paxton are in walk years, and J.A. Happ has a vesting option that could make him a free agent after the 2020 season as well.

New York would love to land one of the two aces, though they surely will face steep competition with so many teams in the market for quality starting pitching.