Astros All-Star right-hander Gerrit Cole, the biggest free-agent pitcher on the market this coming offseason, is scheduled to start for the Astros against the White Sox on Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Imagine Cole on that same mound but in a Sox uniform next season, surrounded in a rotation by Sox All-Star Lucas Giolito, the revived Reynaldo Lopez, prized rookie Dylan Cease and the recovering (from Tommy John surgeries) Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodon.
Talk about the perfect fit. Cole, 28, could be the accomplished, premium finishing piece to take the rotation from Point B to Point A.
Without making a significant addition, the rotation “in the future can be one of the most dominant,” Giolito said after striking out 13 Athletics in a 2-0 loss Sunday.
Perhaps. Most of that assessment is based on potential, and the Sox likely will sign or trade for a proven starter to add to it, but it’s just not the Sox’ way to lavish huge long-term money on pitchers. Cole could command a minimum of five years in the market and at least $200 million.
“One thing is for certain, the competition for Cole will be huge,” an American League source said. “The White Sox actually signing Cole? Don’t see it.”
In other words, dream on if you’re a Sox fan.
Granted, the Sox were in the free-agent mix for Manny Machado and, to a lesser degree, Bryce Harper last offseason. But they were not willing to make a large-enough financial commitment to reel them in, and Machado took more guaranteed millions from the Padres. The biggest contract the Sox have ever given was to Jose Abreu at $68 million, and that was almost six years ago.