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MLB rumors: 'Mystery team' joins Yankees, others in Gerrit Cole pursuit

MLB rumors: 'Mystery team' joins Yankees, others in Gerrit Cole pursuit

The MLB offseason is in full swing, and free agent pitcher Gerrit Cole is the top player available and drawing interest from several teams.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Tuesday that the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels and a mystery club are in on Cole.

How much will teams need to spend to acquire Cole? Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports the veteran starting pitcher's next contract is expected to be worth more than $300 million.

For some context, the Washington Nationals re-signed starter Stephen Strasburg to a seven-year, $245 million contract earlier this week, which is the most expensive deal ever given to a pitcher.

Cole is a fantastic pitcher, there's no doubting that. He posted a 20-5 record with a 2.50 ERA, 326 strikeouts and 0.86 WHIP in 2019. Cole also was a driving force in the Houston Astros reaching Game 7 of the 2019 World Series, where they lost to the Nationals.

The 29-year-old right-hander would be a tremendous upgrade to any rotation as a clear No. 1 ace. The Yankees are the most logical landing spot for Cole given their need for a No. 1 starter. New York might actually be the betting favorite to win the 2020 World Series if it lands Cole in free agency. The Dodgers also make sense as a potential destination. The National League West champs have deep pockets and a need for a proven playoff pitcher after Clayton Kershaw's latest October meltdown.

The Boston Red Sox would greatly benefit from Cole leaving the American League and signing with an NL contender such as the Dodgers. Cole going to the Yankees would be a huge blow to Boston's chances of reclaiming AL East supremacy next season.

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Report: Former Red Sox infielder Eduardo Nunez to join Mets as non-roster invite to spring training

Report: Former Red Sox infielder Eduardo Nunez to join Mets as non-roster invite to spring training

Midway through the 2019 MLB season, the struggling Boston Red Sox made an attempt to shake things up on their bench and get them back into the playoff race. That decision involved designating Eduardo Nunez for assignment.

Nunez spent parts of three seasons with the Red Sox after he was acquired at the 2017 MLB trade deadline. Nunez quickly endeared himself to Boston fans by batting .321 and smashing eight homers in 38 games with the team.

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But after his first season, Nunez's production tailed off. He was still productive during the team's 2018 World Series run, though he was hampered by a knee injury, before things bottomed out in 2019. He was hitting just .228 at the time of his release and his defensive range was declining because of his balky knee.

Now, after remaining out of MLB work for almost half a year, it looks like Nunez is getting one more shot at sticking around in the MLB.

According to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, the New York Mets have invited Nunez to join them as a non-roster invite at spring training in 2020. 

It may be tough for Nunez to ultimately win a spot with the Mets, who also have former Red Sox shortstop/third baseman Jed Lowrie on the team. But he is going to be on a minor league deal as a result of this signing.

And if injuries strike and Nunez proves himself, perhaps he could eventually earn a roster spot.

We'll soon see what happens with Nunez, but it is nice to see the 32-year-old get another chance to play at the MLB level, even if it is just a spring training invite.

Dodgers president on Red Sox, Astros sign-stealing: 'I'd like to have answers'

Dodgers president on Red Sox, Astros sign-stealing: 'I'd like to have answers'

Los Angeles Dodgers team president Stan Kasten, in his first public comments on the sign-stealing scandal that has rocked baseball, lamented that he still has many unanswered questions after Major League Baseball's punishment of the Houston Astros. 

Kasten noted that the investigation isn't over, with MLB continuing to look into the Red Sox' alleged sign-stealing using video - a system that Alex Cora reportedly brought to Boston as manager after serving as Astros bench coach.

"This investigation isn't over," Kasten said, via Evan Drellich of The Athletic, who along with colleague Ken Rosenthal broke the stories detailing the Astros' and Red Sox' schemes.  "I’d like to have answers to many questions about what happened, by whom and when."

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Kasten saw his Dodgers lose World Series in 2017 to Houston and 2018 to Boston, only to have those two championships called into question after MLB's report on the Astros' tactics led to the firing of manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow. Cora also parted ways with the Red Sox amid the controversy and Carlos Beltran, a player on the '17 Astros involved in the scheme, was fired just months after being named manager of the New York Mets.  

Houston was also fined $5 million and docked draft picks. The Red Sox could face similar penalties.

Here are Kasten's full comments, via Drellich:

Earlier this week, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred shot down suggestions that the World Series titles could be stripped from the Astros and Red Sox, a request made by, among others, the L.A. City Council. 

Speaking specifically about losing to the Astros in the 2017 Series, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, at the team's Fan Fest on Saturday, questioned the legitimacy of Houston's title.  

"We know how hard it is to win a World Series," Turner said. "We know that it's something you really have to earn, and with the commissioner's report and the evidence and what they had, it's hard to feel like they earned it and they earned the right to be called champions."