Finally it has happened. Since the ending of the World Series, since his comments after A.J Hinch didn’t bother putting his best pitcher (yes, better than Verlander) in Game 7 of the World Series when they NEEDED him, Gerrit Cole is taking his talents to New York.
29 year old Gerrit Cole signed a 9-year, $324 million contract. The contract includes a full no-trade clause with no deferred money so he will see every last dime in those nine years. However, there is an opt-out after the fifth year just incase the Yankees suck in five years and he wants to get out of that bustling, loud, obnoxious city.
Hate to say this being a die-hard Tampa Bay Rays fan, but I had a strong feeling as did all of my friends that are Yankee fans and most of the baseball world about Cole ending up in New York. They have the most money, an owner and general manager who both don’t give a damn about dropping some major coin for top talent, and a big market. Add all those up and we now have a concoction for signing the top free agent available to the biggest contract in baseball history for a pitcher topping David Price’s 7 year $217 million contract he signed with the Boston Red Sox back in 2015.
Cole was robbed in my opinion in what was a dominant year on the mound. Cole finished the 2019 season with a 20-5 record, 2.50 ERA, 326/48 K/BB ratio and a .895 WHIP. What makes those stats even more intriguing is he led the American League in ERA (2.50), ERA+ (185)–ERA adjusted to where the player plays most of his games at as well as external factors including opponents. League average is 100–, FIP (264)– Fielding Independent Pitching, Strikeouts per 9 for the second year in a row (13.8), and of course strikeouts (326). Those 326 strikeouts Cole racked up were the most the league has seen since 2002 when good ol’ Metallica loving Randy Johnson ended up with 334 to end that season.
With Cole now in the Bronx, it adds a much needed arm to a rotation that needed a little pick me up last year. Luis Severino was limited to only three games during the regular season and Masahiro Tanaka did not have his best year on the mound finishing with his second highest ERA of his career coming in at 4.45. James Paxton was pretty solid as usual and was still limited to only 150.2 innings but managed to strikeout 186 batters and most likely will see those strikeouts climb the more innings he throws. J.A Happ was more often than not a liability every time he took the mound and will likely round out the rotation in the fifth spot as the Yankees are locked in with him for another year at $17 million. Things could be worse in the rotation, but ultimately Yankee fans should be happy with Happ as the number five eating as many innings as he can while his ERA will most likely suffer the more innings he throws. Have to just bite the bullet every time he takes the mound and hopefully will save the bullpen some innings.
Well, this is bad news for all 15 Rays fans out in the world as now we will have to deal with this beast more often than not this year. Let’s just hope it’s not his turn to pitch when the Yankees come to Tampa or are in New York. Rays up, Sting em, Sting em, Rays up.