October 26, 2019|3: 23 pm|UpdatedOctober 26, 2019 | 3: 34 PM
WASHINGTON – Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg have rightfully drawn attention being in one place, at one time for the last games of the 2019 season before heading out as the marquee free agents.
Even including Cole’s not so terrific World Series Game 1 start, the trio has enhanced their reputations this postseason with stellar play. And one prediction game about to begin in earnest is how much the top of the market stars will get. So sure, I will take an initial whack:
Cole for seven years, $ 252 million:The $ 36 million average would be the highest annual value for any player, any position.
Rendon at seven years, $ 231 million:A year older than Nolan Arenado he does not get the same eight years at $ 260 million, but becomes the highest annual average third baseman ever at $ 33 million per year.
Strasburg for six years, $ 192 million:Clayton Kershaw did not opt out after the Dodgers added three years at $ 31 million per season. Strasburg has four years at $ 100 million left. The Nationals tear that up and give $ 32 million per for six years to stay. Strasburg takes it as a creature of habit who does not want to change now.
Consider this a first take on what will be discussed – and discussed and discussed – this offseason, such is the star power of the threesome and also thatall are represented by Scott Boras.
So let this be the first (and perhaps) last time to give love to a few older, non-star relievers about to head out into free agency who thus far this postseason also have enhanced their brand: Houston’s Will Harris and Joe Smith, and Washington’s Daniel Hudson and, yep, Fernando Rodney. None of them are in line for huge money considering their job descriptions and age. But they play in an era when everyone wants to deepen their pens and this quartet is showing they can handle the biggest pressure.
The Mets definitely can use to add at least one proven bullpen arm (especially if they have any plans to turn Seth Lugo back into a starter) andshould the Yankees lose Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapmanto free agency, they also would need to bolster. So some thoughts (all stats going into Saturday night’s Game 4):
Harris– Houston manager A.J. Hinch called Harris, “My security blanket the entire season counting five years back. This is a guy who hasn’t been underappreciated, but probably has not gotten the recognition, except the one year he got to be an All-Star. ”
Harris didn’t break in until 27, so enters free agency for the first time at 35. He does so having topped 60 appearances five times in seven seasons, using his power breaking ball to amass a 2. 84 ERA in 419 games. This postseason the righty has nine shutout appearances (8¹ / ₃ innings) without yielding an extra-base hit. He has inherited 10 runners – and stranded all 10.
Smith– His 782 regular-season games had been the most among active pitchers not to appear in the World Series. The righty sidewinder recovered from a torn Achilles to make it back in the second season of a two-year, $ 15 million pact. The 35 – year-old has 11 50 – appearance seasons and a 2. 98 career ERA. This postseason he allowed one run (a Gleyber Torres homer) in 7 ¹ / ₃ innings.
Hudson– He is the youngest , turning 33 next March. But he’s had two Tommy John surgeries. Hudson emerged as the Nats ’closer after being obtained from the Blue Jays in July. He had permitted one run in seven innings (eight appearances) this postseason.
Rodney– Laugh if you want at the age (43 in March), tilted cap and arrows shot after closing out games, but Rodney was still throwing 95 mph in Game 3. He is a tightrope walker these days (six walks in 4 ¹ / ₃ postseason innings, but no runs on two hits). Rodney is fearless and you know what a contending team decides pretty much annually: To obtain Rodney during the year. That has happened in four of the past five seasons and the only time it didn’t, he played with the wild-card Diamondbacks all year. You don’t want him closing any longer, but it won’t cost much to have him as a set-up piece.
Keeping close eye on Cole
Cole has probably been the majors ’best pitcher this year – postseason included. But as he readies to start Game 5, keep an eye on if there continues to be diminishing returns – and if that worries any teams heading into the most anticipated free agency of the offseason.
Cole has made four starts this October and his swinging strike percentage has dropped for each from 47 .8 percent versus the Rays in the Division Series, 35 .2 and 26 percent versus the Yankees in the ALCS and 25 .5 percent in the World Series opener. Though he has pitched at least seven innings each time, Cole’s strikeout totals also have been on the decline: 15 – 10 7-6.
The 29 – year-old righty was at (innings (postseason included) and counting in 2019, after a career-high 213 ¹ / ₃ last year. Boras has said one item that embellishes Coles’ free agency is a comparatively low regular season innings total (1, 195) compared to his age. Boras made the same point when Max Scherzer (1, 239 ¹ / ₃ innings) went into free agency after his age – 29 campaign. Scherzer has been a durable, great free agent buy.
Maybe Cole is, indeed, a Scherzer clone. But after a championship run / heavy usage for their starters last year, Boston tried to back off early on guys such as Nathan Eovaldi, David Price and Chris Sale. All of them broke down this year anyway. The Astros have had overall better health results with their starters year after year even with Lance McCullers Jr. needing Tommy John surgery. Teams will definitely notice his enlarged workload this year worried about carryover into the future, especially if his results continue to wane in Game 5.