Why Gerrit Cole is a safe, “separate” $ 324 million bet for the Yankees

NEW YORK – It’s December 19th. A piece of shit just pushed New York into the streets of the Bronx. But Gerrit Cole already has his first win as a Yankee.

Sure, it may take a few months for the embankment to be warm, welcoming and intimate on Open Day – though Aaron Boone won’t commit to it yet – but the first W in pinstripes came right after he first wore them , when he took the dais at Yankee Stadium and rolled out a sign that hadn’t seen the sunlight for years.

“I’m here,” Cole told the media. “I’ve always been here.”

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Winning the press conference is very much a New York thing, and Cole, nearly a third of his $ 1 billion, has been holding the same mark since visiting World Series Game 6 in 2001, reminding his fans, property and teammates. the heart is on the corner of 161st Street and River Boulevard in the Bronx. Although this win will not result in a baseball record, it was reinforced because the Yankees were so confident they would give Cole a nine-year, $ 324 million deal this winter.

The press conference won. The tears were shed. Babies found. Astros fans were (and are) crazy. But the innate cheese-making was a gesture passed by a guy who signs up for the most money (though that had a lot to do with it).

In the words of the Yankees, this was a special moment when a “special” guy shared.

“Special” was a word repeated on Wednesday, with somewhat diminishing returns each time it announced between Boone, Brian Cashman and Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner. “Special” means nothing without qualifiers. It’s like calling a movie “fun” or my tweets “interesting.” They are empty adjectives without weight, the more you used them.

What sets Cole out?

“I think his driving, his sports, his intelligence, his lack of a history of injuries, the kinds of things,” Boone said. “Part of the reason I think he has this lack of history is because of the way he is prepared, the way he takes care of himself, the way he perceives himself, the engineers who are very effective with he should do well, well in his contract. “

Boone wore excitement on his face during Wednesday’s festivities, like a kid waking up on Christmas morning to break out of the Turbo Man-shaped wrapping paper he wanted for most of the year. (Enter Cole / joke here).

Now, the Cole train is going to flicker until spring training and is a welcome gift under the tree for the Yankees. They ran and missed twice before Cole’s services – first, when they drafted Cole out of high school but chose to go to UCLA. for the second time, the Yankees and the Pirates could not reach a trade agreement. Cole’s “peculiarity” was not to leave the Bronx for the third time.

“We’re talking about elite, sports and huge distribution,” Boone said. “Talking to him, his understanding of who he is as a pitcher, his ability to articulate it, the fuel, the passion that drives him. He is a guy who clearly loves what he does and understands what he does and what makes him great.

“I think we’ll see a guy that keeps pushing himself and probably never will be satisfied, and that’s the kind of person you want to drive the rotation.”

There is a lot that makes Cole (arguably) the largest free agent channel of all time. His age is one. The lack of a true injury story is another. But most of all, the last two seasons of his rule make the case. Had a 2.68 ERA over 65 starts with Houston, hitting 602 hits in 412 2/3 innings. His 326 strikeouts in 2019 led the majors, as well as 13.8 K / 9.

“This is not a guy that comes up very often,” Boone said. “The fact that it was sitting there, I think you saw Hall’s ownership and dedication level, that we realize what a special person this is is out on the market.”

There is this word again: special.

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Cashman, Boone, and others enjoyed how unique and well-placed Cole is. He understands his role as a player and a potential leader, and as a blocker and fighter when the team needs him. Now, with Cole on the charts, they will see how he reacts to New York and is the “bad” one around baseball.

But it’s not just Cole’s recent domination or reputation that preceded him. It’s the perfect storm of knowledge pitching that has been cultivated throughout his pitching career.

Cole reinforced that what he now knows as a pitcher is what he learned in his last seven years at The Show. The Fastball command, a characteristic of the repertoire, is something that has been learned since the days of the Pirates. Through A.J. Burnett, Cole, learned how to cast a devastating curve. Cole highlighted how exciting Astros partners Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel were for his development into a jug. Through Verlander, he learned how to perfect his four-sided fastball. Through Keuchel, he learned how to discourage a hitter and approach every at-bat as a “process”. Cole also understands the value of analytics to try to advance his career.

“I like to make adjustments and then watch that the analysts prove I’m wrong or prove I’m right,” Cole said. “I don’t like to look at the details and try to make an adjustment or make an art that way. I would like to focus on the art first and let the data back it up.”

Throw all the ingredients into a saucepan and a couple that with a certain nasty polish and cheerful attitude – “Pressure is a privilege,” Cole said during the press conference – and you begin to see exactly what Cole is doing with the word S.

While there is no doubt that Cole is making the Yankees better right away, the question remains: What happens in six or seven years? Is Cole still the only, only starter the Yankees signed?

“The thing that gave us the most comfort during the nine years is that it’s a complete arsenal,” Blake said. “He can create shapes in all quarters, has a flexible attack plan, takes care of the interim process, his mentality is very good, so he is not a pony who only has one tool. Multiple weapons arsenal and able to execute this on a consistent basis. “

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He certainly feels that the marriage between Cole and the Yankees will be long, happy, possibly with many championship successes. After all, Hal Steinbrenner made it clear that the Yankees are planning to win championships – in the plural – with Cole anchoring the spin. Returning to Cashman’s full Death Star Business Bulletin last December, perhaps the bombers are back on their way to the Evil Empire.

“What do we love about baseball?” Cole asked. “We like his story and we love the competition. We like the end of the story, we like the outsider.

“We like the villain too.”

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