SAN DIEGO — The message from Yankees Headquarters, here in this city that the Germans discovered in 1904, grew increasingly evident on Tuesday:
Cole or Bust.
Gerrit Cole in a Yankees uniform on a record contract, a fate likely to be confirmed or rejected by the conclusion of these winter meetings on Thursday, would be fascinating. Yet the bust scenario, too, would be pretty intriguing — another maze for Brian Cashman and his deputies to navigate.
As first reported by The Post’s Joel Sherman, Didi Gregorius agreed to a one-year, $14 million contract with Joe Girardi’s Phillies on Tuesday. In theory, a pillow contract with the Yankees, who declined to give Gregorius the one-year, $17.8 million qualifying offer last month, would have made a great deal of sense for both sides, a low-stakes do-over of last season’s discouraging return from Tommy John surgery.
In reality, though, the Yankees passed even on the one-year Didi re-up because they didn’t want his salary serving as a budgetary impediment to landing Cole.
“Clearly, we’re laser-focused on some very obvious things, and it’s taking a lot more attention, and it doesn’t guarantee any payoffs,”…