History Is Made
It was only a matter of time before a pitcher broke into the prestigious $300 million club. Up until this point, only Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, and Manny Machado had signed contracts with a total value of $300+ million. At midnight on Tuesday, December 10th, Gerrit Cole agreed to a nine-year, $324M deal with the New York Yankees, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Other details from the contract include an opt-out after 5 years after the 2024 season. The deal also contains a full no-trade clause.
Just a day before the Cole agreement, Stephen Strasburg signed a seven-year, $245M deal to resign with the World Series champion, Washington Nationals.
Strasburg had just set the record for the highest AAV or “Average Annual Value” of a contract for a pitcher with an AAV of $35M a year.
This deal of 7-year, $245M was the exact contract the Yankees reportedly offered Cole on Sunday, December 8th per Bob Klapisch of the New York Times. The New York Yankees, who had Cole as their top priority, quickly improved their offer to the 3-time all-star and reigning AL ERA leader, making Gerrit Cole the highest-paid pitcher of all-time with an AAV of $36M a year.
Yankees 2020 Rotation
The addition of Gerrit Cole improves their starting rotation drastically. This will move Luis Severino to the #2 spot and shifts their other starters down the rotation.
Projected 2020 Opening Day Rotation for the Yankees:
- Gerrit Cole
- Luis Severino
- James Paxton
- Masahiro Tanaka
- J.A. Happ? Or Jordan Montgomery
There are rumors that the Blue Jays are looking to bring back J.A. Happ to Toronto, in that event, Jordan Montgomery would most likely slide into the final spot in the Yankees 2020 rotation. Gerrit Cole gives the Yankees the best two-headed monster in their rotation, along with Luis Severino, since C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett in the Yankees’ 2009 World Series run.
What Cole Brings to the Yankees
Over the past two years, Gerrit Cole has been one of the most dominant starters in the league. In just the past two seasons with the Astros, Cole has been to two All-Star games, finished in the top-5 in Cy Young Award voting and finished this past season 10th in the MVP voting. Last year, Cole also led the AL in ERA, strikeouts, and strikeouts per 9 innings.
The Houston Astros no longer have the two best pitchers in the AL in their starting rotation. Not only does Gerrit Cole add incredible value to the Yankee’s rotation, but he also takes value away from the reigning AL Champion Houston Astros starting rotation. The Yankees have been knocked out of the playoffs two of the last three years by the Astros. The Yankees are hoping with the addition of Cole they can flip the script and reach their first World Series since 2009.
A Different Gerrit Cole in 2020?
Along with the obvious haircut and shaved face that Gerrit Cole will have in 2020, he will need to make some adjustments to his game as well. Moving from Minute Maid Park to Yankee Stadium, Cole may want to put a focus on more of his off-speed stuff to miss more barrels in 2020. He relied heavily on his fastball to overpower hitters in 2019, but with the short porch in right field and an overall smaller stadium in the Bronx, Cole should incorporate more sinkers and cutters to keep balls on the ground and out of the stands this season.
The New York Yankees are the winners of Winter Meetings in 2019. Brian Cashman, the Yankees GM, came away with the best free-agent signing of the offseason so far. This signing will have the biggest impact on the 2020 season. Cashman didn’t want to lose out on another top name in free agency this year, so he pushed all his chips in and went all-in for Gerrit Cole.
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