Yankees Get their Ace, Sign Gerrit Cole to 9-Year, $324 Million Deal
The New York Yankees said that they would flex their financial muscle to land ace starting pitcher Gerrit Cole during free agency this winter, and they did exactly that in inking Cole to the largest deal ever for a pitcher.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Yankees signed Cole to a monumental 9-year, $324 million contract, adding an ace to the front of their already impressive rotation and arguably the best pitcher in baseball.
Cole’s new deal with the Yankees includes an opt-out option after five years and it also includes a full no trade clause, per the report. Cole’s new deal crushes the record-setting contract the Washington Nationals re-signed ace Stephen Strasburg to earlier this week, for most total money and annual average salary for a pitcher, at $36 million.
Cole, 29, was the runner up to his Houston Astros’ teammate Justin Verlander for the AL Cy Young award, posting a 20-5 record with a 2.50 ERA to go along with a career-high 326 strikeouts which were the most in the majors and also broke an Astros franchise record that had been intact since 1979.
Additionally, Cole was superb in the playoffs, where the Astros lost in the World Series to the Washington Nationals. Cole went 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA in 36⅔ innings of postseason baseball.
Cole grew up a Yankees fan and attended several games at the old Yankee Stadium, saying that his favorite players were Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Cole was drafted by the Yankees in the 1st round of the 2008 draft, out of high school, but he instead chose to go to UCLA.
The Yankees will now put out an imposing starting rotation, perhaps their best in years, with Cole, Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Jordan Montgomery, and Domingo German. The Yankees also have promising youngsters such as Deivi Garcia coming up as well.
The Yankees went with a full court press to land Cole, with team owner Hal Steinbrenner directly involved in the talks with Scott Boras, the agent for Cole, and was the one who made the decision to push the deal to 9 years, adding one year to their 8 year offer, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.