The Yankees signed starting pitcher Gerrit Cole to a nine-year deal worth $324 million. Now it’s up to Cole to show that he was worth that contract, even in a shortened season.
It’ll be difficult for MLB players to really showcase everything they can do in a season with 102 less games than normal, but that’s what everyone will have to try to do this year.
Cole – the first overall pick of the 2011 MLB Draft – spent the first five years of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was traded to the Houston Astros in 2018. His performances in 2018 and 2019 paved the way for him to receive a mega-contract and the Yankees didn’t disappoint in that category.
Cole is going to be expected to be the ace of the Yankees rotation and they paid him to act like it. The past two seasons he’s had an ERA under three and that’ll be the expectation for him as a Yankee, especially in the first several years of his contract.
Some might have raised eyebrows at this deal when it was agreed upon, as Cole is 29 years old and turns 30 in September. The Yankees gave that hefty of a deal to a pitcher on the cusp of 30, which seems very – Well, Yankees.
The Yankees gave Cole this deal to give them that ace they needed in their rotation. Everything else on their roster is there, but the starting rotation hasn’t been as good as the other parts of the roster and that’s where Cole comes in. He needs to be the reason the Yankees win their first World Series in over a decade.
In a typical season, Cole makes roughly 33 starts and has an ERA under three. This year, he’ll likely only make around 13 starts, which should keep him very fresh in the postseason and that’s where he’ll need to shine.
If Gerrit Cole can pitch lights out in the playoffs like we saw him do for the Astros in both 2018 and 2019, then he’ll already be worth this contract. If the Yankees fizzle out once again and fall short of the World Series, it’ll be tough for fans to really feel good about this contract moving forward, especially considering Cole turns 30 in September.
While some might not consider a World Series title this year as a real championship, for a team like the Yankees who are on a decade-long drought from winning it, they’d gladly take it. If Gerrit Cole plays a pivotal part in getting them that World Series, then this deal will have been worth it.