Yankees surprise no one by confirming interest in Cole and Strasburg

Yankees GM Brian Cashman attends the Annual Charity Day (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
Yankees GM Brian Cashman attends the Annual Charity Day (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald) /

While luxury tax concerns will continue to be a facet of the Yankees recent way of doing business, on Monday, GM Brian Cashman announced he intends to speak with free agents Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.

On the first day of the General Managers Meetings in Scottsdale, AZ — Yankees GM Brian Cashman announced that he does indeed intend to speak with World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg and presumptive AL Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole.

Not quite Earth-shattering news — as I would have only been shocked had Cashman came out and said he was only going to target tier 2 starters due to not wanting to exceed the luxury tax for a second consecutive season.

And while that may still end up happening, Cashman told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that he’d give it his all when it comes to approaching the top two starting pitchers on the free-agent market.

"“Of course we’re going to talk to Strasburg. We’ll talk to Cole. We’ll talk to the higher end guys, clearly, and have conversations there and we’ll also talk about some surprise guys… It’s going to take two to tango.”More from Yankees NewsYankees chose worst possible player to ring in New Year on 2023 team calendarYankees make upside play, sign former Rangers top prospect outfielderMichael Kay’s Anthony Volpe story will get Yankees fans amped for Opening DayNo, Yankees should not acquire Trevor Bauer for 2023Yankees’ Marwin González replaces Red Sox LF in Japan in logical next step"

While many, including Jon Heyman, believe that Cole prefers to pitch in his native Southern California perhaps for his “other favorite team growing up,” the Angels — the Yanks will try for a third time to ink the enormously talented 29-year-old right-hander.

Since both Cole and Strasburg are represented by super-agent Scott Boras, negotiations are likely to be super expensive and unceremoniously drawn out — unless some club blows everyone else away with a quick offer of $200 million-plus.

After opting-out of the final four years, $100 million on his contract, many within baseball expect Strasburg to return to Washington, just on a far richer and longer-lasting deal.

According to Erik Boland of Newsday, the Yankees may then switch tactics and target starting pitchers through trade, much like they did last offseason when they acquired James Paxton from the Mariners for Justus Sheffield — and that worked out well.

"Cashman at the GM meetings said, yes, he will be talking to Scott Boras this winter about Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg. But he also mentioned the heavy payroll commitments for next season and opportunities that could become available via the trade market. Very, very early…"

Indeed, it is early in the proceedings — and should Cashman get an inkling that Cole and Strasburg are likely headed anywhere but New York, switching gears to tier 2 free-agent starters could be the order of the day when the Winter Meetings get underway on Dec. 8 in San Diego, CA.

Naturally, that could push the asking price for the likes of Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Hyun-jin Ryu, Dallas Keuchel and Jake Odorizzi to uncomfortable levels for the Yanks. So perhaps we should brace ourselves for Cashman to revisit a potential deal for Matt Boyd, Robbie Ray or Mike Minor.

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However, one thing is for certain, anyone without the surname of Cole or Strasburg won’t excite Yankee fans headed into the 2020 season.