With the San Diego Padres looking for a starting pitcher, pending free agent, Gerrit Cole could be the answer for the team in 2020 and beyond.
The San Diego Padres have been kicking the tires on starting pitchers for the past 12 months.
Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Matthew Boyd, Trevor Bauer, and Michael Fulmer have all been linked to the team to some degree. The Padres want a pitcher to place at the top of the rotation to help guide the promising young hurlers who are currently at the major league level.
In all these discussions with other teams, nothing has taken place. The Padres seem reluctant to trade prospects at this point for proven talent. That could prove to be a wise decision, as the team is not close to being a dominant force. With several issues on the roster, there is no easy fix for this franchise.
The Padres should keep all the prospects that they can.
Instead of dealing away young players for a pitcher, the team can sign a free agent from the open market this winter. Names like Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Jake Odorizzi, and Alex Wood are all available. Those are decent options, but the one real ace on the market will be Astros’ right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole who is set to make a pretty penny this winter.
The 29-year-old is currently having a Cy Young-caliber season, with a 14-5 record and a 2.87 ERA in the American League. Cole has struck out a league-leading 226 batters in 156 innings pitched and has composed a 0.977 WHIP. Cole is averaging 102.8 pitches per start and 6 2/3 innings per appearance. He gets out, and he demands the ball each start. That is exactly what the Padres need — an innings-eater.
Cole will be free to sign with anyone and will surely be asking for top-dollar. Scott Boras is his agent, and there is no doubt he will get his client the best deal out there. The three-time All-Star made $13.5 million in 2019. He could easily double that per year and will be asking for somewhere around six or seven seasons in terms of commitment. That projects his contract to be somewhere around $160-million and six-years (at the very least). Patrick Corbin received $140-million from the Nationals this winter on a six-year deal, and Cole is the better pitcher. He should eclipse $140 million reasonably easily.
Can the Padres afford Gerrit Cole?
Yes, they gave Manny Machado a $300 million contract. They have also invested in Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer. The team has shown, in recent years, that they will go the extra mile when they see fit. Cole would be a considerable expense, but the right-handed pitcher provides a need for a team on the rise.
The native Californian and former UCLA Bruin could take comfort in returning to his home state. Cole could also be enamored with the Padres youth movement and the fact there seems to be a bright future in the city in regards to baseball. There are plenty of reasons why Cole could choose the Padres as his team of choice. Multiple teams will be vying for his services though. The Padres will have a hard time competing with the likes of the Yankees and Dodgers in terms of maximum value. Both teams are known to have some interest in the potential free agent. If the Padres sign Cole, it will take a little desire from both sides to get a deal done.
One way or another, there will be interest in him from the San Diego Padres. Expect the team to be aggressive if they deem Cole worth the effort. This winter could be exciting for the fans as the Padres are surely going to be aggressive in restructuring the roster.