SAN DIEGO – The Yankees have increased their stake in pursuing another World Series title by acquiring Gerrit Cole, the highest free agent award this off-season, with the richest contract a pitcher has ever received: 324 Million USD over nine years. The club had made Cole his overwhelming priority this off-season and ultimately prevailed against the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers in the right-handed race.
The 29-year-old Cole agreed to the deal, which is due for a physical exam in the coming days late Tuesday evening, according to two people who are aware of the deal. Cole's deal, which gives him an average annual salary of $ 36 million, includes a full no-trade clause and allows him to sign out after the fifth year.
Cole and the Yankees broke the record for the largest contract ever awarded, a pitcher, a brand that had only been set a day earlier: Stephen Strasburg signed again with the Washington Nationals on Monday for seven years and $ 245 million Dollars, setting the record for the largest on total commitment and the highest average annual value for a pitcher. Cole prevailed against both of them and also surpassed the deal by Angel's superstar outfielder Mike Trout, which has an average annual value of $ 35.5 million.
Once known for the free-spending approach of George Steinbrenner, the former owner, who passed away in 2010, and the Yankees have generally had more payroll discipline under his son Hal, the current main owner, in recent years. But to end their drought in the World Series – their last championship was in 2009 – the Yankees recognized the need to add an elite starter pitcher.
They selected Cole, who led the Houston Astros to the World Series last season and defeated the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. To win it, the Yankees offered the largest contract they'd ever given to a player, surpassing the $ 275 million 10-year deal they'd made with Alex Rodriguez before the 2008 season. Cole's deal alone is the most money the Yankees spent free-hand in a low season since the winter before the 2014 season, in which they distributed nearly half a billion to multiple players.
The Yankees promoted Cole, a pitcher they had coveted for years, with their deep pockets, their victorious tradition, their ability to apply for a World Series, and a recruitment field that included dinner and a four-hour meeting at the Fashion Island Hotel in Newport included Beach, California last week.
The contingent of Yankees officers posted to recruit Cole included General Manager Brian Cashman; Manager Aaron Boone; Michael Fishman, the data-conscious deputy general manager; Matt Blake, the team's new pitching coach; and Andy Pettitte, the five-time Yankees champion (and former Astro) who thrived in pinstripes. Boone invited Pettitte to the meeting because he knew that Cole, who grew up as a fan of the Angels and the Yankees in Southern California, considered him one of his favorite players.
The Yankees have not reached or won the World Series since 2009. There were only one game in the 2017 playoffs and two games in the last season.
Cashman said this off-season that it won't be easy to improve his team, who won 103 games in 2019 and 100 games in 2018. The Yankees had one of the best offenses and bullpens in baseball, but their starting rotation was plagued by poor performance and numerous injuries. Their starting pitchers ended the season with an earned run of 4.51, the 15th place in the main leagues.
Cole will immediately improve the Yankees' starting rotation and almost certainly make them one of the favorites in the World Series for the 2020 season. He went 24-6 with a earned run average of 2.39 and 373 strikeouts last year, including postseason. From May 22nd until the end of the playoffs, he only lost one game when he put together one of the largest stretches in Major League history and scored an E.R.A. and 258 strikes over 169 ° innings.
The Yankees tried two times to acquire Cole, but designed it in 2008 couldn't persuade him to commit to U.C.L.A. to give up and then try to act for him when he was a Pittsburgh pirate. Cashman recently called him the team's "white whale". He was finally wrapped up on Tuesday.