Chicago Cubs: Looking ahead to a 2020 free-agent wish list

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
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Chicago Cubs: Bringing one of the best to the Northside

Gerrit Cole, SP, Houston Astros

Topping this wishlist of free-agent acquisitions is none other than Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. While Cole is not seen as the ‘ace’ of Houston, that title belongs to Justin Verlander. Cole is still an outstanding pitcher who has found exceptional success in the Space City.

The Astros acquired Cole in the 2018 offseason in a package deal, and since his arrival, he has been lights out. In his first season and a half for Houston, Cole has carried an incredible 2.97 ERA. To add to his success, Cole has posted a ridiculous 35.7% strikeout rate to just a 7.4% walk rate.

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During his 330 innings since the trade, Cole has held opposing hitters to just a .203 average, while simultaneously posting a 1.03 WHIP, 2.87 FIP, and 2.85 xFIP respectively. If not for Verlander, Cole would unanimously be considered Houston’s top starting pitcher.

Cole is currently on a one-year/$13.5 million contract with the Astros. Per Spotrac, his market value sits at a whopping $23 million per year, which currently ranks 12th among all starting pitchers. The expected contract for Cole based on that market value, should he decide to leave Houston, is six years/$138,012,930.

For Chicago, they have several players currently heading into next season with a club option. If they decide to avoid exercising those specific options, there could but funds available to swing a deal for Cole.

Starting pitcher Jose Quintana can be bought out for $1 million to save the team the $10 million he is due next season. Brad Brach is in the same boat, where they can save $5 million with a $100,000 buyout. Brandon Kintzler is an unrestricted free agent after this season and is on the hook for $5 million, and newest backup catcher Martin Maldonado would save $2.5 million as a UFA heading into next season.

While the likelihood again is minimal as there are a number of teams who will inevitably be vying for Cole’s service. There could be a possible workaround to lure him to Chicago as part of next seasons staff, and that would be sweet.