Thu. Feb 13th, 2020

… Because we all have opinions.

Formidable Yankees Sign Gerrit Cole

As much of America’s east coast was dozing off to sleep Tuesday night, the New York Yankees were busy making an enormous stride towards their 28th World Series title. When news broke of the Bronx Bombers securing the services of baseball’s most sought-after free agent, Gerrit Cole, the MLB landscape changed dramatically in an instant.

As first reported by Jon Heyman, the 29-year-old ace inked a 9-year deal worth a record $324 million – seeing him through until the end of the 2028 season. The historic deal is the largest ever for a pitcher and the second greatest payday in the history of MLB free agency, behind the $330M Bryce Harper received from the Philadelphia Phillies last offseason.

The eventual contract figures, 9 years and $324M, were first speculated yesterday – by myself – and comfortably surpass those included within Stephen Strasburg’s new 7-year deal with the Washington Nationals.

For the rejuvenated Yankees, the addition of Cole completes a fascinating tale which has followed him throughout his entire life. An avid fan of the Yankees growing up, the Yankees selected Cole in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft (28th overall). However, the talented youngster chose to further boost his stocks and attend UCLA instead, before ultimately becoming the No. 1 overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates three years later.

His career in Pittsburgh came to an end when he was traded to the Houston Astros after the 2017 season, and ever since he has continued to flourish. Through 192 career outings, the three-time MLB All-Star owns a 94-52 record with a 3.22 ERA, while his 1,336 strikeouts have come at a rate of well over a strikeout per inning pitched.

While the financial commitment is beyond substantial, Cole has rarely been plagued by injuries throughout his professional career. He missed a large portion of the 2016 season with injuries, notably to his elbow, however has pitched three consecutive 200+ inning seasons since.

No doubt, contracts of this magnitude for pitchers all come with significant risk and quite often they don’t work out anywhere near as hoped, however in Cole’s case, there are very few red flags and the ‘win now’ Yankees have gained a pitcher well and truly in his prime.

Importantly, not only have the Yankees gained arguably baseball’s best pitcher, it has come at the expense of fellow American League challenger, the Houston Astros. This represents a seismic shift in the League’s pecking order, with the Yankees seemingly now surpassing their increasingly bitter rival. With a formidable rotation that already included Luis Severino, James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka, and one of baseball’s most feared line-ups and bullpens, love them or hate them, the Yankees are the odds-on favorites to be crowed American League champions heading into the 2020 season.


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