The Angels have often been connected to right-hander Gerrit Cole, the No. 1 free-agent starter available, but they’re considering the second-best starter on the market as a contingency plan. The club has held a face-to-face meeting with Stephen Strasburg, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.
Strasburg, like Cole, is a a Southern California native, but that probably won’t matter if the Angels don’t put forth an extremely competitive offer. In Strasburg’s case, that could mean a proposal approaching $200MM. The Angels already acquired one starter earlier this week, as they landed righty Dylan Bundy in a trade with the Orioles, but there’s still plenty of work left to fix their rotation. To many, this offseason could go down as a failure for the long-suffering Angels if they don’t reel in a front-line starter such as Cole or Strasburg.
Of course, whether Strasburg will leave his only team to date – the Nationals – remains in question. He and third baseman Anthony Rendon are two enormously important free agents for the reigning World Series winners, but Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner has suggested the Nats are only capable of retaining one of the two. If that one free agent proves to be Rendon, it could lead to a Strasburg-Angels union. Strasburg’s agent, Scott Boras, hasn’t gotten along well with Angels owner Arte Moreno in the past, though it seems the two have moved past their differences. That may prove to be hugely important for the Angels, as they need a No. 1-caliber starter and the two top rotation options – Cole and Strasburg – are Boras cliients.