Gerrit Cole grew up a lifelong Yankees fan. Now he’ll be wearing pinstripes for the next decade.
Cole, the best pitcher in baseball when he played for the Houston Astros in 2019, inked a deal with the New York Yankees on Tuesday night for a record $324 million over nine years. The deal, worth $36M per year, is the largest ever for a pitcher, topping the 7-year, $245 million deal that World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg received from the Washington Nationals a day earlier.
As an Astro, Cole was electric in 2019, posting career highs in wins (20) and strikeouts (326), setting a record for strikeouts per 9 innings (13.8) and finished second in the AL Cy Young race behind teammate Justin Verlander. Many Astros fans reacted to the news as expected with the knowledge that the team wouldn’t financially hamstring themselves to resign the ace pitcher, even after he didn’t pitch in Game 7 of the World Series. Others were thankful for his service with the team.
The move for the Yankees has made them the odds-on-favorite to win the 2020 World Series after missing the Fall Classic for an entire decade in the 2010s, the first time that has ever happened in their illustrious history.
As an Astro, Cole found dominance in a rotation bolstered by Verlander along with Dallas Keuchel, Zach Grienke, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers. He went 35-10 over two seasons with over 600 strikeouts. But in 2019, he delivered arguably the most dominant season by a pitcher in Astros history, going undefeated from May 22 until Game 1 of the World Series. In the postseason, he went 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA.