The Yankees Fantasy Camp, usually a November to January tradition at George M. Steinbrenner Field to occupy the off-season, will take place later this year.
You can attribute that to the sight of Gerrit Cole in his grapefruit league pinstripes.
"You're thinking of a World Series where he poses games 1, 4, and maybe 7, if necessary," Hal Steinbrenner told Post last week about his $ 324 million investment. "He is the same [CC] Sabathia was in bloom. He is a solid ace for every club. In every turn. "
Steinbrenner, the general partner of the Yankees, is proud to be less emotional and analytical than his late father, whose name adorns the Yankees' spring training home. Like his baseball department, he appreciates that multiple glitches and malfunctions – and possibly a few misconduct stealing the shields – have resulted in his team missing the World Series in the past three seasons, even as the Baby Bombers have risen and ushered in a new era of franchise excellence and energy.
Then take a look at someone like Cole, who is sure to be one of the game's top five starters and possibly the best. A lifelong Yankees fan (who, as we all know, spurned the Steinbrenners for UCLA after being selected by high school in the first round of the 2008 amateur draft). A young man (29), both sociable and cerebral, who has produced an EFR of 2.60 in ten postseasons, begins.
Regardless of whether you own, hide, or anchor the team, you can't help but put the holistic assessment aside and ask yourself: How many titles would the Yankees have had Cole served for them in the past three seasons? At least one, right?
Combine this tempting guess with the record-breaking pact, and all eyes will be on Cole as soon as he reports to the camp. His first press conference. His first bullpen session. His first live punch training. His first exhibition game. Aaron Boone's official announcement that Cole will start the opening day in Baltimore against the terrible Orioles on March 26, as long as things go smoothly.
"I've never seen our fan base so enthusiastically," said Steinbrenner. "I think it's been a long time, it's really that way … He's just a very special player. He checks all the boxes and if we make an investment like this – and we're not against it – it will be someone like I said a month ago that it feels like it's really a game, changer, and it is.
"He is young. He is healthy. I expect we will win some championships in nine years."
The owner expresses such a boss-like bravery because he believes that Cole is more likely to run into such heat than to run away from them. Cole crushed his introductory press conference at Yankee Stadium in December like few before. Although health problems cannot be predicted, it is extremely difficult to imagine that as soon as he enters team property, he will be surprised by the flood of expectations and the attention given to him.
The Yankees' New Year's resolve to dramatically reduce their injuries was supported by a dramatic renovation of their training and conditioning staff. This week he blew up a tire on the runway when Cole's rotational colleague James Paxton underwent a back operation that kept him from major league action for at least three months. In this way, the rotation loses depth and power.
And this increases the hunger for Cole, the desire to see him trigger strikes and innings. Sure, nothing in Florida will count until the Yankees Tropicana Field visit down the street. However, sunshine-state fantasies can warm the heart and make the mind race. At the moment, Cole can earn his considerable salary to stimulate these fantasies.