The New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels reportedly are the favorites to land Gerrit Cole, but they might not be the only teams pursuing the ace.
MLB Network's Jon Heyman tweeted earlier Tuesday that there was a "mystery team" pursuing Cole. MLB.com's Mark Feinsand tweeted Tuesday night that the Giants and Houston Astros "likely" are the mystery teams trying to sign Cole, but they face stiff competition.
I'm hearing the Astros and Giants are the likely mystery teams for Cole, though multiple sources have major doubt either will be a serious player for the ace. Yankees, Angels and Dodgers still appear to be the most likely destinations for Cole.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 11, 2019
Cole finished second in AL Cy Young voting in 2019 behind then-Astros teammate Justin Verlander. The UCLA product posted a 2.50 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 212 1/3 innings with Houston, going 20-5 and striking out a career-high 326 batters. Cole is expected to command over $300 million, which could be too hefty a price for the rebuilding Giants. San Francisco appeared to open the door for the Angels on Tuesday, helping Los Angeles clear salary by acquiring oft-injured infielder Zack Cozart and 2019 first-round draft pick Will Wilson.
But the 29-year-old has a San Francisco connection that can't be ignored. Cole's wife is Amy Crawford, sister of Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.
Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said the team hoped to leave the Winter Meetings with a new starting pitcher. The Giants signed Kevin Gausman on Tuesday, but it's possible they leave with another if they're able to out-bid Cole's reported suitors. Heyman tweeted Tuesday night that there is a "strong likelihood" Cole reaches a deal before the Winter Meetings end.