Headlining the star-studded 2019 MLB free agency class were a pair of elite right-handed starting pitchers in Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.
The latter, after receiving interest from the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, re-signed with the Washington Nationals on what was a record-setting seven-year, $245 million contract.
With Strasburg officially off the board, all eyes shifted to Cole and the decision that lied ahead of him. He reportedly met with the Dodgers, L.A. Angels and New York Yankees last week to get a better feel of his market.
A Newport Beach, Calif. native, many of Cole’s former teammates predicted that he would sign with a West Coast team, noting his desire to pitch closer to home. While the Dodgers and Angels expressed sincere interest, it was the Yankees that presented him the most lucrative offer.
According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Cole is headed to New York on a contract that sets a new MLB record for a pitcher:
Breaking: Gerrit Cole to Yankees. 9 years. 36M per. 324M total.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 11, 2019
That New York landed the offseason’s biggest prize is hardly surprising considering their desire to add another frontline starting pitcher. The club reportedly spent the past week constructing their record-setting offer to Cole that ultimately was added onto.
The 29-year-old spent the first five seasons of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates before a trade to the Houston Astros in 2018 helped him elevate his game to another level.
Cole is coming off an outstanding 2019 season with the Houston Astros in which he posted a 20-5 record, American League-best 2.50 ERA and 0.90 WHIP en route to a second-place finish in Cy Young voting.
In two seasons with the organization, Cole compiled a stellar 35-10 record, 2.68 ERA, 2.67 FIP and 0.96 WHIP across 412.2 innings pitched (65 starts). He struck out an MLB-best 602 batters during the span, placed top-five in AL Cy Young voting twice and even earned some MVP votes along the way.
Cole now fronts a talented Yankees starting rotation that also includes James Paxton and Luis Severino.
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