TAMPA – Gerrit Cole brings the Yankees a resume that includes the league's top 326 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.65 from a year, but the 29-year-old is still aiming for his first World Series title.
And on the day the Yankees held their first spring training with pitchers and catchers on Thursday, Cole made it clear that the $ 324 million contract he signed was accompanied by the expectation of a championship.
"I love it," said Cole of the team's World Series or Bust mentality. "From a player perspective, it won't be much [simpler] as the. It is the dream to go there every day and try to win every time. It sounds very simple, but you know better than I do, since we are in this organization, there are many moving parts and there are many people who invest a lot of time in simplifying this one topic: we have to win a World Cup … this urge winning drives you. "
The right-hander turned to the media on Thursday for the first time after reporting to the camp on Wednesday.
And Cole not only made it clear that he didn't want to talk about his former team's sign theft scandal, but also expressed his resentment at being part of a team that lost Game 7 of the World Series against Washington.
"It's easy to stay driven this year," said Cole when he won a championship last October. “My free agent process was completed very quickly. You mix that excitement with the disappointment or bad feeling of losing, and you get someone who is [champing] on the bit. I am now ready to take care of the business. It drives me every year, but especially last year, when I'm so close, it makes the opportunity so much more exciting this year. "
The process of preparing for the season started before Cole came to Tampa when he set up a schedule with new pitching coach Matt Blake.
Despite Cole's heavy workload in the past two seasons in Houston, he insisted that his arm be strong by 2020.
"Up to the 250 innings [last season between the regular season and playoffs]I feel quite relaxed, ”said Cole. "If anything, I feel like I have more sense of where the ball is going now, which I think with more experience and the more you throw."
But Cole will undoubtedly bring the Yankees more than what he offers over 30-35 starts.
Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino have already talked about picking things up from the new ace, but Cole said he's looking for a back-and-forth conversation with his teammates.
"I'll just try to adapt wherever I can, but I'm new here," said Cole. “The only way to get familiar with things is through communication. I just want to make sure everyone is on the same page as soon as [possible], "
He highlighted Tanaka as someone he admired from afar.
"How can you not?" Asked Cole. "He was the epitome of a professional here in New York throughout his stay. In the middle of his career, he dealt with many challenges that came from Japan to a completely different side of the world. There is probably a perspective there."
The chats that Cole has had with coaches and catchers so far include how he wants to set up his recipients, how the team works when it comes to setting up opposing thugs and becoming familiar with the communication process.
At the moment, Cole said he would rely on some of his new teammates to show him the ropes until he felt more comfortable, but Aaron Boone told the team at his first meeting of the season on Thursday that he would look for contributions from all.
"Aaron spoke this morning about bringing energy and bringing a positive mood and focus to the clubhouse," said Cole. "Basically, I think he really challenges all of us to be leaders in that sense."
But they only have an ace.