Gerrit Cole To The Yanks

9 years, 324 million.

Jim Rome
December 11, 2019 - 11:14 am
Gerrit Cole

USA Today


When Stephen Strasburg re-signed with the Nationals for 7 years and a reported 245 mill a deal that would break the record for biggest pitcher’s contract by total and by yearly average, the reaction was two-fold: one, good for him. And two, great for Gerrit Cole.

Because everyone knew that record would not last long. Because as good as Strasburg is and as much as he earned that contract, particularly with how he pitched in the World Series run, Cole is two years younger. Which means he was going to get two years more.

And he had a number of teams desperate to get him. The Angels were jonesing hard to bring the OC pitcher back to the OC. The Dodgers were willing to completely change their methods to get him. And the Yankees wanted in as well. And there was everyone’s favorite team, the “mystery team.” And that mystery team was reportedly the Houston Astros. 

If you are on the open market and you have two teams from SoCal, your previous employer, and the New York Yankees bidding for you, things are going well. You’re just laughing at that point.

So the question wasn’t if Cole would break Strasburg’s record, but by how much.

Gerrit Cole to the New York Yankees for 9 years, 324 million. By how much: a helluva lot. That’s how much.

Awesome. Great. And I don’t say that as a Yankees fan. I’m not a Yankees fan. I’m not a fan of anyone. I don’t care who wins or loses, but what I do care about is that some teams actually care to win.

What is great about that contract is that is says that there are at least a few teams in major league baseball who are actually trying to win.

There are still a couple of teams who are willing to throw down some serious cash in order to get a ring.

There are still a couple of teams that measure their season on rings and not on wins per dollar spent.

There are still a couple of teams who remember that people are rooting for teams, not spreadsheets.

There are still a couple of teams who want to win instead of keep costs down, keeping good prospects in the minors to manipulate service time, and rolling the dice on a bunch of arbitration guys to see if they can get hot.

Yes, baseball is good when the Yankees are good. And the Yankees should be damn good next year. I know they just lost Didi Gregorius to the Phillies, but he was only with them for half of last year. The bigger note here is that they won 103 games last season in a year where Luis Severino threw 12 innings. Total.

They won 103 games without their ace last year. And now they’re getting him back and another ace. Not just another ace, but thee ace: the best pitcher in baseball; and the bigger the stage, the better he was. That kind of an ace. That is brass. And it’s great. And they have to be the immediate favorite for the 2020 World Series.

Because not only did they get the guy they’ve wanted ever since they drafted him in 2008 and the guy they tried to trade for when he was in Pittsburgh, they kept him away from two other AL rivals in the Astros and the Angels. Gerrit Cole was, as Brian Cashman called him, the “white whale.” The guy they’d been chasing for years and they finally got him.

And you can see why they’d want him. He is a horse. And absolute stud. A beast. Whatever you want to call him.

There are so many different ways to measure that, but let me pick one: 326 strikeouts in 212 1/3 innings. 326 strikeouts. In a single season.

Sure, it’s not as great as when Old Hoss Radbourn struck out 441 guys while pitching for the Providence Grays in 1884. But I’m going say that Old Hoss was probably pitching to a bunch of part-time baseball players and full-time butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers.

Gerrit Cole is pitching to professional hitters. Who have more access to data, intel and every kind of analytic known to man: And they still didn’t have a chance against him. He had one loss after May 22nd. One.

And that is why you want him. Because he delivers, in the regular season, and the postseason. You think that’s going to look good in pinstripes? I’m guessing it will.

It doesn’t guarantee the Yankees a World Series, because you can’t guarantee a World Series. And it’s not on Cole to win them a World Series to earn that money. He’s earned that money with what he’s done already.

And just so we’re clear, the Yankees and their ownership group are doing just fine no matter what. Even if Cole turns into the second coming of Kevin Brown, the Yankees will be doing just fine. So don’t worry about the cost.

Worry about the intent. And the Yankees intent is to win.

Because at a time where teams like the Red Sox and Cubs are reportedly looking to dump elite players to cut costs, the Yankees are willing to spend big to win big. That is great. Because people root for good teams, they shouldn’t be rooting for smart fiscal moves and sustained revenue generation.

Think about your favorite memories as a fan – what are the images you see? Big wins or painful losses, right? Moments when your favorite team won it all or got this close, not of when they passed on an elite free agent to sign a middle of the road player and maximize earnings potential. The Yankees are trying to win. And we shouldn’t be at the point where you have to hype that, but apparently we are.

Sure, Cole is a so-Cal native, I’m’ a so-Cal native, it would have been cool to see pitch for either of the so-Cal teams: but again, I don’t root. I don’t root for anything other than something to talk about; and the Cole and the Yankees just gave me that, so I’m all good.