MLB free agency is upon us, but there's nothing "free" about it.
Ace pitcher Gerrit Cole is the biggest name of the crop, and will be the one who could earn the largest paycheck. But where will he go?
All things equal, every team has a one-in-30 chance at getting Cole. But we know that's not the case. Would it really be possible he could land on the team with one of the lowest historical payrolls?
Yep, I'm talking about the A's.
Many have thought he could join the Giants, as he is married to shortstop Brandon Crawford's sister and he's from California. But former teammate Josh Reddick suggests Cole could play for the other Bay Area team.
“We know he wants to be a West Coast guy,’’ Reddick told USA Today's Bob Nightengale. “He’s a California guy, so he probably wants to be close to home. I know he mentioned Oakland a couple of times because of how he’s pitched there in the past. But that probably won’t happen. They’d have to clear the whole roster to afford him."
To say Oakland would be happy to have him is the understatement of the century. Oakland could use starting pitching -- but what team couldn't?
As far as Cole loving to pitch at the Coliseum, that makes sense, but it's a small sample size. In three games pitching in Oakland, he's boasted a 2.71 ERA and limited batters to a .212 average. Pitchers love it there.
The A's are not known to give out large contracts. They're not known to give out a fraction of what Cole is worth.
Three All-Star selections over his seven-year career have helped that value rise. An AL-leading 2.50 ERA last season with a league-leading 326 strikeouts and a 2.64 FIP raises it even more.
[RELATED: A's acquire McFarland off waivers]
“It makes you wonder what teams are going to be able to afford him, because there’s so many teams that can’t afford somebody like that," Reddick, who spent five seasons with the A's, added.
Beyond the monetary value Cole will command, this will create yet another long winter for teams -- and Cole will be the main target.
Just don't get your hopes up, A's fans.