SAN DIEGO – The Twins have a decision to make, if they haven’t made it already.
The hot stove flared up on Monday once reports that the Nationals had an agreement to keep Stephen Strasburg for seven years and $245 million — a record for a starting pitcher — hit the lobby of the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
Wow. Gerrit Cole was supposed to get the record contract, not Strasburg. And since Strasburg has agreed to that deal, Cole’s deal undoubtedly will be even bigger.
The fallout from all of this is that the rising tide lifts all boats.
There are now reports that Madison Bumgarner wants a deal of five years and $100 million, which reflects how the market for starting pitching has exploded. That happens to be the deal the Twins offered Zack Wheeler before he went to Philadelphia for $118 million. But the Twins also had Wheeler ranked higher than Bumgarner on their list of targets.
And there’s the decision. Do they offer Bumgarner the deal they offered Wheeler?
Bumgarner also is sliding into a nice spot in free agency. With Strasburg going back to Washington, that leaves Cole for the Yankees, Dodgers and Angels to fight over. Whoever loses out on Cole could turn to a cheaper alternative, to them, and lock up Bumgarner.
The way free agents are signing during this particular offseason, we could know the answers to these questions sooner than later.
A couple other nuggets from the winter meetings.
• The Players Association is taking a goodwill tour to Columbia this Tuesday through Friday in which they provide clinics to Columbian and Venezuelan youth. The group includes current and former Twins in Marwin Gonzalez, Wilson Ramos, Eduardo Escobar and Nick Burdi.
• A war is brewing between the Pirates and Twins. New Pirates manager Derek Shelton has hired Don Kelly to be his bench coach. Kelly was a target of the Twins and Rocco Baldelli. Both teams need to fill out their coaching staffs, so this might not be the only time they will butt heads over candidates.
• Baldelli, by the way, is now ranked as the most handsome manager in baseball, the result of very unscientific research by writer Craig Calcaterra. Baldelli rose from fourth last season when he was behind Brad Ausmus, Gabe Kapler and Alex Cora.
• Former Twin Jacque Jones visited with Twins officials on Sunday. His son, Jacque Jr., is 20 years old. We’re getting old.