Stephen Strasburg went first. It defined a market. If necessary, it let anyone involved in the Gerrit Cole market know what the sub-basement looked like. Because seven years at $245 million — what the Nationals guaranteed to retain Strasburg — is not even the floor for Cole.
He is two years younger than Strasburg. He has a far superior health history. He was better in 2019 than Strasburg, who by the way was great.
So it is not like seven years at $246 million gets it done. For the Yankees or anyone playing for Cole, the understanding is now this will take eight years — probably more. The cost will exceed $300 million — and not by a dollar or two. Cole is a unique free agent. He’s in his prime. October proven. Beloved by scouts and analysts. Chased by the coastal superpowers — and a bunch of teams in between.