SPANISH HARLEM – The New York Yankees have loved Gerrit Cole for a long time now. They drafted him in 2008 but lost him to the UCLA Bruins. They longed for him two years ago, when the organization had an opportunity to trade for him, that didn’t good well as the Pittsburgh Pirates preferred the players the Houston Astros provided them. Now here we are, in 2019 (11 Years later) and the Yankees finally got the pitcher and player they coveted since he was a teenager for 9 Years and 324 Million.
Brain Cashman and the Yankees made it their 1st priority to sign Gerrit Cole, they made an aggressive pitch when they visited his home in California and made it no secret to the press that he was guy they wanted. It was uncharacteristic of the way they have handled free agency for the last couple of years, but it’s not surprising that they landed the best pitcher on the market. We have seen in years past that when the Yankees want a player, there aren’t too many teams that can compete with them for talent. We saw that when CC Sabathia was a free agent and we all know how that turned out. With the addition of Cole in the Yankees starting rotation, they move ahead of the pack and instantly become the betting favorite to win the World Series.
Gerrit Cole comes to the Bronx as the best pitcher on the staff – if not the best pitcher in baseball. It was the type of move that helps your team and hurts your rival. The Astros (his former employer) came in late to make things interesting and there was interest from the Dodgers and Angels as well, but in the end the Yanks would not be denied. Make no mistake, this was a move the Yankees had to make because the last two years they were missing an Ace that brought fear to the teams they played against. Some may have loved the potential of Luis Severino as a true #1 and sure, Masahiro Tanaka has become their best big game pitcher, but they had nobody that could put up the type of stats Cole put up this past postseason. Now with him in the fold, the Yankees go into the season with possibly the best starting staff in the game.
The only drawbacks are the amount of years and how that would play out toward the end of the contract. Considering those issues, let’s take into account that he has a opt out in the contract after year 5, which if he is still dominant, makes this a 5-year deal. The money was going to be there no matter what and when Stephen Strasburg – who is two years older – signed for 7 years, you knew it would take one or two more years to get Cole. That was understood from the get-go and still the Yanks felt confident enough in his ability to complete the deal. He has been healthy and durable for a power pitcher, which you like to see when signing an ace. Further, with the types of injuries that Strasburg has dealt with in his career, the price for Cole had to go up.
I’m not surprised it took this much to sign Cole. If he is able to bring ONE championship, he will be beloved. If he can help with more, he will become a legend.