Gerrit Cole is hugely valuable to the Yankees on the field, but he can also help New York’s front office succeed in MLB Free Agency
The Yankees successfully wooed Gerrit Cole in free agency last offseason, but they’ll need to give him more help to end the team’s World Series drought in 2021. Fortunately for Brian Cashman and his front office, the ace of the Yankees rotation is already working on strengthening the team’s roster via free agency.
Many Yankees fans are focused on new players who might come to the Bronx next season, but bringing back some of the team’s own free agents might be just as important as any high-profile addition. Starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is one big-name free agent that New York would like to bring back.
Cole is certainly aware of the organization’s wishes. That’s likely one reason why he and his wife were recently seen at dinner with Tanaka and his wife. Cole posted the photo of the foursome on Instagram to the delight of Yankees fans around the globe.
Cole and the Yankees would love to have Tanaka back for another season
Cole may have a great personal relationship with Tanaka, but it would be naive to think the dinner wasn’t partially scheduled in an effort to convince the Japanese veteran to extend his stay in New York. Tanaka’s performance is starting to dip noticeably due to age-related regression, but he was still an above-average starter for his team in 2020.
The Yankees do have young options waiting in the wings to fill out the bottom half of their rotation in Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt, but the front office knows they must dominate at the top half of the rotation if they want to achieve meaningful playoff success. Bringing Tanaka back is a key part of Cashman’s plans to build a five-man rotation that is dominant and deep at the same time.
None of this means Tanaka is a lock to return to the Bronx. He wants one more significant contract before he ends his MLB career. The Yankees’ ability to bring him back will largely hinge on their willingness to match any offer he gets from a competitor. Cole’s friendship might give the team a valuable tiebreaker, but it won’t drastically change the potential finances of Tanaka’s next deal.