NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees have reportedly made it clear to Gerrit Cole, the biggest fish in the free agent pond this winter, that they want him to anchor their starting rotation for years to come.

According to Bob Klapisch of the N.Y. Times, the Bombers have put a seven-year, $245 million offer on the table. If Cole agrees, the $35 million average annual value would surpass the record $34.4 million Zack Greinke currently receives and would eclipse David Price’s overall $217 million deal.

Cole went 20-5 with an AL-best 2.50 ERA and big league-high 326 strikeouts this past year for the Houston Astros, and finished second in the AL Cy Young Award voting behind teammate Justin Verlander. The 29-year-old right-hander is also expected to receive offers from the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers, so it’s possible the Yankees may increase their offer. Various reports have suggested the Steinbrenner family has given general manager Brian Cashman to OK to do what needs to be done to sign the ace right-hander.

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Cole grew up in Newport Beach and lives in Santa Ana, Calif., but reportedly told the Yankees during their meeting last week that he would have “no West Coast bias” during the process of picking his next team, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported.

The Yankees have been after Cole for more than a decade. New York selected him with the 28th overall pick of the 2008 amateur draft, but he decided not to sign and attended UCLA instead. Pittsburgh took him with the first overall pick in 2011 and agreed to an $8 million signing bonus.

The Astros acquired Cole from the Pirates before the 2018 season, reportedly outbidding the Yankees along the way. He is 94-52 with a 3.22 ERA in seven big league seasons.

If the Yankees do land Cole they will have one of the more formidable rotations in baseball. Cole would lead a group that includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ. New York also has right-hander Domingo German, who went 18-4 in 2019 before his season ended due to a domestic violence investigation. He could be suspended to start next season.

The Yankees also boast promising left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who missed almost all of this past season due to Tommy John surgery.

If New York misses out on Cole again, Cashman is expected to quickly pivot to the second best starter on the market, reigning World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg.

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