KEY POINTS

  • Stephen Strasburg signed a record seven-year $245 million contract with the Nationals
  • Gerrit Cole is two years younger and even more effective so he will get a larger contract
  • Cole's suitors now no longer have Strasburg to fall back on, so they are more desperate than before and one will be tempted into making on offer of $300 million or more

Gerrit Cole is now the last remaining blue-chip free agent starting pitcher on the free agent market after Stephen Strasburg put ink to paper on a seven-year $245 million contract with the Washington Nationals.

Strasburg’s contract will have very real implications for the teams still chasing Gerrit Cole. The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels are still the favorites to land the pitcher while the Los Angeles Dodgers are in contention although are viewed as less likely candidates.

Other interested teams include the Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies and, according to Jon Heyman of the MLB Network, one mystery club who has only recently joined the race. While the identity of this last team remains an enigma, it is most likely that they won’t impact proceedings.

Houston's Gerrit Cole allowed only one run on three hits over seven innings to silence Washington batters and help the Astros defeat the Nationals 7-1 on Sunday in game five of the World Series Houston's Gerrit Cole allowed only one run on three hits over seven innings to silence Washington batters and help the Astros defeat the Nationals 7-1 in Game 5 of the World Series. Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Patrick Smith

The fact that Stephen Strasburg’s deal is now the new record for the largest-ever total and most annual average value of a contract for a starting pitcher. Gerrit Cole was already expected to shatter a record or two even before Strasburg got paid over the odds for his services.

That means that Gerrit Cole, and super-agent Scott Boras, will ask for even more money for his coveted signature. The former Houston Astro is two years younger than Strasburg and, with the latter signed through his age 38 season, it is easier to envision a contract approaching ten years in length for Cole.

Combine that with the very real fact that Cole will break Strasburg’s record for average annual value and the new floor for the free agent is now $300 million. However, should he land a decade-long deal, that total could easily rise well above that mark.

The fact that Strasburg has been taken off the market will also help Cole’s case. This is because any team that would have lost out on Gerrit Cole would have then made Stephen Strasburg their number one priority, but without that safety net, anyone who loses out on Cole will really lose out.

There are other free agent starters available such as Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but they aren’t nearly as effective as either Cole or Strasburg. The latter’s new contract will only make the former’s larger as the potential suitors get more desperate.

The Yankees were reportedly ready to extend an official offer to Gerrit Cole on Monday night. Whenever that does come to fruition, the offers from the other suitors will start to roll in and fans will find out just where Gerrit Cole will land and how much his record-breaking contract will be worth.