The New York Yankees have signed 29 year old, Gerrit Cole to a 9 year, 324 million dollar contract, which feels like what entire baseball teams were bought and sold for not that long ago. According to this website, The Diamondbacks were purchased for 238M as recently as 2004, and the Nationals were bought for 450M in just 2006.
Setting aside just how nice it must be to spend more on one player than a lot of teams do their entire roster (The Marlins spent just 62.91M last season), it’s a whola lotta dough for one pitcher, even if he was the best pitcher in the league last season. The move puts the Yankees just over the 248M luxury tax threshold for next season, and that’s before they make any additional moves. The deal comes with an opt-out after year 5, but I’d be surprised if it is exercised. Of course that’s what we said about Strasburg, so who knows.
Cole became a truly elite pitcher as a member of the Astros, with whom the flamethrower posted back-to-back 200-inning seasons of sub-3.00 ERA ball. He was particularly amazing in 2019, when he amassed a jaw-dropping 326 strikeouts with a 2.50 ERA/2.64 FIP across 212 1/3 frames. That performance wasn’t enough to defeat then-teammate Justin Verlander for AL Cy Young honors, but it was enough to help earn Cole an absolutely massive payday. This deal blows past the eight-year, $256MM that MLBTR predicted Cole would receive this offseason.
Cole will join Luis Severino, James Paxton, and Masahiro Tanaka in the rotation, which will support one of the best bullpens in the game and one of the strongest lineups. The Yankees have just about bought themselves another World Series, now all they have to do is stay healthy and win it.
With Cole and Strasburg signed before Christmas, that leaves Anthony Rendon, another Boras client as the top remaining free agent.