Phillies: Route to acquire Gerrit Cole for 2020

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 15: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros celebrates retiring the side during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees in game three of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 15: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros celebrates retiring the side during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees in game three of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Priority number one for the Phillies is re-upping Realmuto. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. /

Central divisions:     

In the AL, the Phillies rivals for Gerrit Cole won’t include the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals due to restructuring, plus $200 million is way above the Cleveland Indians bottom-line ceiling. Concerning the Minnesota Twins, they’ll bid but consider it too expensive. No surprises there!

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers have financial limitations with different reasons. Realistically, the Bucs are a small-market club that won’t lose money by trying to compete with deep-pocketed franchises, while the Brew Crew is at their limit according to their decision-makers.

The Chicago White Sox can easily afford $200 million, and they play in a weak division comparatively speaking. But is 2020 too soon to pursue capturing the AL Central flag? And, if so, they won’t want to spend $30 million in ’20 without making a run at Minnesota and Cleveland.

For the Chicago Cubs, they will prioritize re-upping their right fielder Nicholas Castellanos acquired in July and replace two free-agent relievers. Plus they want to keep their spending under the Luxury Tax threshold. Besides, they have decent rotation arms, but no Gerrit Cole.

$208 million competitive-balance threshold for 2020:

  • White Sox: $82.3 million AAV with 5 departing free agents: SP, 1B, 2 RPs and OF.
  • Cubs: $183.1 million AAV with 7 departing free agents: SP, 3 RPs, 2B and RF.
  • Cardinals: $168 million AAV with 4 departing free agents 2 SPs, C and LF.
  • Reds: $128.2 million AAV with 2 departing free agents: SP and SS.
  • Free agents not included in the team’s total AAV.
  • Phillies: $191.2 million AAV with 8 departing free agents: LF, SP, 4 RPs and 2 INFs.

With $40 million AAV, the St. Louis Cardinals will be in the market for a left fielder and two starters. And although they could sign Cole and an outfielder, they probably won’t commit to seven campaigns for an ace, even though they could creatively fit in the stud and remain under the $208 million threshold.

The Cincinnati Reds will need a starter and a shortstop, but offense is their main weakness. On the other hand, their owner wants to spend the dollars, but he may have a limit in mind. And it won’t be $80 million or include a $30 million Cole either, even though he wants to make a run at the divisional title.