In terms of big-time free agent moves, it doesn't get bigger than the New York Yankees new deal with sought-after pitcher Gerrit Cole. On Tuesday, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the Yankees and Cole were agreeing to a record nine-year, $324 million deal.
Cole was dominant in 2019, finishing with a 20-5 record and a 2.50 ERA. The wins, losses and ERA were all career-bests for Cole. He continued his dominance in the MLB playoffs, where he pitched 36 2/3 innings, going 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA. He was especially unhittable in the 2019 ALCS, where he very impressively gave up no earned runs over 212.1 innings pitched against the Yankees, who scored the most runs in the MLB in 2019. His 326 strikeouts in 2019 made him the Astros franchise-leader in Ks in a season, adding even more mystique to a year that felt like something out of a movie.
Despite the dominant season for Cole, he finished second in the AL Cy Young voting to former teammate Justin Verlander as he was a part of an absolutely awesome pitching staff that has now been dealt a big blow. Cole will now be joining another staff that has a chance to become elite over time, as the Yankees will add his elite arm talent to a group that includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and Domingo German.
Cole is likely to be in the Bronx for the long haul, though he does have an early opt-out clause.
The Yankees rode their great offense all the way to a Game 6 in the ALCS, despite their pitching ranking a ho-hum 14th in the league in ERA (4.31). With Cole now in tow, there is reason to believe that the 'Evil Empire' is truly back.
And while the Cubs and White Sox were not considered to seriously be in the running for Cole's services, his signing means that there will likely be developments soon in regards to the other top arms on the market, some of which have been linked to Chicago. This list includes names like Madison Bumgarner, Dallas Keuchel, and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
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