SAN DIEGO — The message in Yankees Headquarters, within this town which the Germans found in 1904, grew progressively clear on Tuesday:
Cole or Bust.
Gerrit Cole at a Yankees uniform onto a listing contract, a fate inclined to be verified or rejected from the end of the winter meetings on Thursday, will be intriguing. Nevertheless the bust situation, also, would be quite fascinating — yet another maze for Brian Cashman and his deputies to browse.
As first reported by The Post’s Joel Sherman, Didi Gregorius consented to some one-year, $14 million deal with Joe Girardi’s Phillies on Tuesday. In concept, a cushion contract with the Yankees, who declined to provide Gregorius the one-piece, $17.8 million qualifying offer every month, could have made a wonderful deal of sense for the two sides, a low-stakes do-over of past year’s discouraging return from Tommy John surgery.
Actually, however, that the Yankees passed on the one-year Didi re-up since they did not need his wages serving because of budgetary impediment to landing Cole.
“Certainly, we are laser-focused on some rather obvious things, and it is taking much more focus, and it does not promise some payoffs,” Cashman said Tuesday. “But we believe that laser attention is placed because the very evident means to actually enhance the club at the class I described is to put a wager like that.
“However, in case this does not perform — in relation to Gerrit Cole, for example — then there is other avenues for people to pursue, along with the time frames may be more, and perhaps the chances do not announce themselves until farther out in the space. So we are able to play the long game, the individual match, the playing game. But at precisely the exact same time, we are enjoying with the clear game”
Meaning that Gregorius, among the most well-known players, rides the New Jersey Turnpike from the hopes of earning life miserable to the Mets. It usually means that Dellin Betances, his 2019 savaged by accidents, likely returns only when the Yankees overlook Cole into the Angels, Dodgers, Astros or any puzzle team.
(It does not imply anything regarding Brett Gardner. Bet on the Yankees completing their arrangement to deliver him back after Cole decides)
The Yankees already permitted former Met Zack Wheeler to combine the Phillies without a lot of struggle, and Cashman confessed on Tuesday he thought all along that Stephen Strasburg, that took a meeting with Cashman, Aaron Boone and many others a week up in Newport Beach, Calif., could venture straight back into the Nationals, as happened Monday with a $245 million package that places a listing until Cole signals. Cole stands as the only remaining free agent who’d unquestionably assume the best spot in a Yankees starting rotation. Hence that the team could stay stuck there when Cole turns down them.
Together with Gregorius off the plank, meanwhile, the free-agent shortstop market appears thinner than Matthew Perry in Season 3 of”Friends.” Gleyber Torres naturally supposes the starting role, and he played over capably in Gregorius’ lack. On the other hand, the 2019 Yankees stood out most importantly due to their ailing depth, with numerous high-ceiling choices at virtually every place that allowed them to conquer their injury outbreak.
Can Thairo Estrada, Tyler Wade or a outside purchase blossom to turn into that type of high-ceiling product? You would not put anything beyond the Yankees granted their constant ability to get the maximum from men who had not done great things everywhere, such as Gregorius. You would need to feel better, however, with Gregorius because infield mix.
I receive the logic. The Yankees’ failure to reach the World Series to get 10 consecutive years could be credited partly, or even as far as the traditional wisdom claims, to a scarcity of genius power. Cole just may be the game’s greatest ace.
But you’d love to find both Cole and Gregorius at a Yankees uniform, correct? You desire the height and the thickness.
The laser attention will not permit it. We’ll see whether that laser carves a new route for the Yankees or simply burns them.