Wednesday, December 11, 2019
MLB Free Agency: Yankees sign Cole
The New York Yankees have signed RHP Gerrit Cole to a nine year deal worth $324 million. It is the most ever given to a pitcher, and the $36 million AAV is the most for a player ever.
The most obvious question when someone gets $324 million is "Are they worth it?". Cole is going to be worth it. The 28th overall pick by the Yankees in 2008, Cole did not sign and went to UCLA. In 2011, he was the first overall pick by the Pirates. In five seasons in Pittsburgh, Cole had a 3.50 ERA with 734 strikeouts in 782.1 innings. Then, the Pirates put him on the trade market. The Yankees tried to acquire Cole, but he went to the defending champions, the Astros. Cole blossomed in Houston. In two seasons, Cole had a 2.68 ERA with 602 strikeouts in 412.2 innings. In both seasons Cole led the league in K/9. He led the league in strikeouts in 2019 with 326, and the AL in ERA with 2.50. However, he was snubbed of the Cy Young. That went to his now former teammate in Justin Verlander. Cole also finished 10th in MVP voting.
Cole will be the head of a Yankees rotation that already had ace Luis Severino, plus solid starters James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees will need to shed salary to account for Cole. That could lead to a trade of potential number five starter JA Happ. How the Yankees will be able to re-sign Paxton and Tanaka, or at least one of them (both are free agents after the season) is a big question mark. When the Yankees will need to extend Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres, both franchise cornerstones, having two players earning over $25 million (Cole and Giancarlo Stanton) will not help. But the only number the Yankees care about in their number of World Series rings, which could be multiple.