2. Gerrit Cole
California native Gerrit Cole wants to go home, although he may just be putting that out there to drive up his leverage with the New York Yankees. If Cole truly does want to go back to Los Angeles, the Dodgers are the much better landing spot for him than the Angels. With the Dodgers, Cole would step into a star-studded rotation and receive plenty of run support. The Angels have Mike Trout, Joe Maddon and Shohei Ohtani, but need to add several big pieces before they can be taken seriously as a contender. Cole may be giving up at least three years of his prime to pitch for a loser if he picks the Angels.
If the Dodgers want Cole, they’ll have to break from their recent model of only offering deals in the four-to-five-year range for their own free agents. Clayton Kershaw’s deal notwithstanding, the Dodgers have stayed away from nine-figure deals. There are three free agents on the market this winter who will sign for over $100 million and the Dodgers have already been linked to Cole and Anthony Rendon.
As the Houston Astros learned the hard way in the World Series this year, having the best rotation does not guarantee a victory. By adding Cole, the Dodgers would give themselves far and away the best rotation in the National League. Signing the veteran would be the ultimate luxury purchase for the Dodgers.
It makes sense for the Dodgers to go hard after Cole, as Kershaw continues to backslide ever so slightly from Cy Young contender to mere All-Star. The Dodgers showed almost no interest in re-signing Zack Greinke when he was up for a $200-million contract, but their situation is different now. Cole is also much younger, with his stock pointed upward after a historic season. He’s worth what will likely be a record-setting contract.