The most coveted free-agent pitcher in MLB history is off the board. Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole has signed a record nine-year deal for $324 million with the New York Yankees.
Cole is coming off an exceptional 2019 season with a 2.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 326 strikeouts in 212.1 innings. He got even hotter after the All-Star Break with a 1.79 ERA and 156 strikeouts across 95.2 innings.
The agreement makes Cole MLB’s highest-paid pitcher, both in terms of total salary and annual average value.
The 29-year-old has consistently demonstrated the ability to stay healthy, thrive in the playoffs and consistently generate strikeouts at an eye-popping rate.
He struck out 39.9% of the batters he faced this season, a single-season record for a starting pitcher. The righty also displayed outstanding command, with only 48 walks allowed against 817 batters faced. During the 2019 postseason, Cole recorded a 1.72 ERA with a 0.87 WHIP and a 4-1 record.
Cole will provide New York with stability at the front of their rotation. He has thrown 200-plus innings in three consecutive years. He completed seven innings in 15-of-33 regular-season starts this year with the Houston Astros and pitched seven-plus innings in all five postseason starts.
Cole becomes not just the ace of New York’s rotation, but the face of the city and the player who the organization and fans hope can end the team’s championship woes.