The New York Yankees have agreed to terms on a record-breaking nine-year deal with right-hander Gerrit Cole worth $324 million, CBS Sports HQ's Jim Bowden confirmed Tuesday night. Cole had previously been linked to the Yankees, the Los Angeles Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yet the Yankees, who were unable to sign Cole after drafting him out of high school, .
Cole, 29, was 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 326 strikeouts against 48 walks in 212 1/3 innings last season for the American League champion Houston Astros. He was also 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 36 2/3 postseason innings. He led the majors in strikeouts, ERA+ and strikeout rate, and the AL in ERA and FIP, among other categories. By nearly any measure, Cole is currently a top-five pitcher in all of baseball.
Here are four other things to know about the deal:
1. Cole breaks the bank ... and multiple records
Not only is Cole's deal the richest ever signed by a pitcher -- Stephen Strasburg held those records for less than 48 hours after he re-signed with the Nationals on Monday -- but his $36 million average annual value is the highest in baseball history, topping Mike Trout ($35.5 million). In addition to being the first pitcher to ever top $300 million, Cole's pact .
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2. The Yankees' rotation is a strength
It wasn't too long ago that the Yankees' rotation was considered a relative weakness. That no longer appears to be the case. In Cole, the Yankees have added a 6-foot-4 right-hander who finished second in AL Cy Young voting last season -- that after a fifth-place finish in 2018 and a fourth-place finish in 2015 in the NL. We ranked him as thethis winter, :
Cole has everything you want in an ace: the frame, the arsenal, the track record. He's thrown 200-plus innings in each of the last three seasons, compiling a 136 ERA+ and a 4.78 strikeout-to-walk ratio along the way. He does most of his work with a 97 mph fastball and two swing-and-miss breaking balls -- an upper-80s slider and a low-80s curveball. He also ranks in the 94th percentile or better as it pertains to the following innate characteristics teams like in their pitchers: fastball velocity, fastball spin, and curveball spin. There's always an injury risk, unspoken or otherwise, with pitchers -- but he's going to get paid regardless. And he should.
With Cole entrenched as the Yankees' ace, here's how their rotation looks:
- Gerrit Cole, RHP
- James Paxton, LHP
- Luis Severino, RHP
- Masahiro Tanaka, RHP
- J.A. Happ, LHP (or, more likely, Jordan Montgomery, LHP)
Team that with a good bullpen and powerful offense, and the Yankees will once again be one of the best teams in baseball in 2020. Given that Cole's signing means he won't return to the Astros, you can make a case that the Yankees are -- at minimum --.
3. The Yankees can now address other aspects
What's next on the Yankees' to-do list? Presumably they'll look to trade J.A. Happ to create some financial flexibility. From there, they're likely to pursue re-signing Brett Gardner, and perhaps Dellin Betances. The Yankees might also look into shortstop options now that Didi Gregorius has signed elsewhere. They haven't publicly been connected to anyone this winter, but in the past they've been known to ask on the Arizona Diamondbacks' Nick Ahmed, among others.
4. The Angels, Dodgers must shift focus
While the Yankees have every right to celebrate, the Angels and Dodgers now have to regroup and move on. For the Angels, that could mean pursuing Anthony Rendon, and trying to navigate a trade for David Price -- or, perhaps, signing Madison Bumgarner or Hyun-Jin Ryu. For the Dodgers, that too might mean going after Rendon, Bumgarner or Ryu.
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