Boston Red Sox

Gerrit Cole 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 Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

By Matt McCarthy,

The market for ace right-handers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg is heating up ahead of baseball’s Winter Meetings next week, and it should come as no surprise that the New York Yankees are positioning themselves to be major players for the best two pitchers available this offseason.

According to multiple reports, the Yankees met with Cole on Tuesday and are scheduled to meet with Strasburg on Wednesday.

Both pitchers are represented by agent Scott Boras.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Yankees are prioritizing their pursuit of Cole, whom they have long coveted. They took Cole in the first round of the 2008 draft, but couldn’t strike a contract with him. Cole then reentered the draft and was taken first overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Yanks reportedly discussed a trade with the Pirates two offseasons ago, but the righty ultimately was traded to Houston.

The 29-year-old Cole could garner a record-breaking contract, surpassing David Price’s seven-year, $217 million deal with the Red Sox, which remains the largest ever handed out in free agency to a starting pitcher. It could, however, take him a while to get that deal. According to Rosenthal, the Cole negotiations could stretch into January. Boras is well known for letting the market develop before striking deals.

The Angels are considered by many to be one of the major players for Cole, a Southern California native and ULCA product. The Dodgers and Phillies also figure to be in the mix.

The Dodgers also met with Strasburg recently, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Nationals are expected to make a serious push to keep the World Series MVP in Washington.

Both pitchers will likely command at least $30 million per season.

The MLB Winter Meetings begin December 8 and will be held in San Diego.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.