Might want to ditch the Scott Boras hat, Gerrit.
Gerrit Cole’s exit from Houston seemed a bit messy. Cole was warmed and un-warmed by A.J. Hinch three times in the deciding Game 7 of the World Series, and was left in the bullpen as Houston blew that game to Washington. After the game, Cole mentioned he was “no longer an employee” of the Astros and, while factually true, it seemed that something else was afoot.
While many were quick to write off a Cole-to-Houston reunion, Astros owner Jim Crane isn’t closing that door just yet.
“It’s a possibility, yeah, it’s a possibility,” Crane said Monday about blowing through the luxury tax to re-sign the ace. “We’re probably over it (the luxury tax) right now. I don’t know where your guys’ math comes from, but yours is different than mine. Anyway, we’ll figure that out.
“We’re gonna take a run at it,” Crane continued. “We don’t know if we can get to where they (Cole and agent Scott Boras) want to get. Boras is tough to deal with. Last year, a lot of those trades, those big trades, work really late, I don’t think that’s good for the market. So hopefully they’ll get Derek (Gerrit) out of the way early and free up the market so everybody can go to work.”
Side note: Well, if you want to re-sign a guy, maybe you should start with getting his name right, Jim.
The Astros have done a good job restocking after being bad for a really long time, and their careful selection of contract extensions and free-agent signings have been part of that. Per Cot’s Contracts, the Astros were almost $7 million under the luxury tax threshold on Sept. 26, and re-signing Cole would certainly blow by that number in 2020, pending arbitration and other free-agent moves.
This is a change for Crane, who has previously been a bit more non-committal about bringing back the ace, saying the luxury tax would likely preclude the Astros from trying to re-sign Cole.
In any case, if Cole returns to Houston, fully expect the orange locomotive on the train tracks in Minute Maid Park to be renamed the “Cole Train,” and it’ll be loaded up with stacks of hundreds with Cole’s face on them.
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