As the clock struck midnight in New York City, the New York Yankees were making the baseball world’s collective jaw drop with an absolute monster of a contract for their new ace.
The player: former Houston Astros ace Gerrit Cole. The contract: nine years, $324 million, full no-trade clause, five-year opt-out, no deferred money.
The Evil Empire just shattered the record for the biggest contract ever given to a pitcher, adding $79 million to Stephen Strasburg’s deal with the Washington Nationals. It is the fourth-biggest contract in MLB history, behind Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton.
Predictably, Twitter had some thoughts on the whole thing, starting with three of Cole’s new teammates.
— Aaron Judge (@TheJudge44) December 11, 2019
— Luke Voit (@LLVIII40) December 11, 2019
$324 Million 😳😳😳😳
— Ryan Sherriff (@KingSherriff) December 11, 2019
— Dontrelle Willis (@DTrainMLB) December 11, 2019
Strasburg and Cole could buy a small country.
— Paul Lo Duca (@paulloduca16) December 11, 2019
Imagine never thinking twice about getting guac at chipotle https://t.co/JEZy09oPND
— Trevor Williams (@MeLlamoTrevor) December 11, 2019
The contract didn’t get any less wild when you looked into the numbers, both of Cole’s deal and the ones before him. All told, Strasburg’s reign as the biggest pitcher contract ever lasted less than two days.
Remember the good old days when David Price's $217 million was the highest deal ever for a pitcher?
That was Monday.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) December 11, 2019
Roger Clemens became the highest-paid pitcher in MLB with his 3-year, $7.5 million contract on Feb. 16, 1989. The next day, Orel Hershiser passed him with a 3-year, $7.9m deal.
Stephen Strasburg’s reign atop the record book will have lasted a tad longer
— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) December 11, 2019
"Congratulations to Stephen Strasburg on his record-breaking contr--"
Gerrit Cole: pic.twitter.com/S2K8fvFDTF
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 11, 2019
So Gerrit Cole gets $1 million per strikeout. He struck out 326 last year
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 11, 2019
The #Yankees won 103 games in 2019 essentially without their ace, Luis Severino. Now they should have Severino and a new ace in 2020.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 11, 2019
The Yankees kept losing to superior starting pitchers in the playoffs. But Cole, Paxton, Severino and Tanaka is quite a top-four. All of them have been aces of a staff in the majors at some point. Should be wild.
— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzYahoo) December 11, 2019
When you play the long, long, long game...
June 2008: Gerrit Cole drafted by Yankees, does not sign
December 2019: Gerrit Cole signs record-breaking deal with Yankees pic.twitter.com/oWTUhF7Mtl
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) December 11, 2019
— Cut4 (@Cut4) December 11, 2019
However, Cole wasn’t really the man of the moment. He earned this day by striking out 326 batters in the regular season and dominating throughout the playoffs, but it really was Scott Boras’ night.
Baseball’s super-agent, who still has Anthony Rendon among his stable of players left to sign, has completely dominated the offseason.
Boras offseason scorecard:
Still to come: Rendon, Ryu, Castellanos, Keuchel.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2019
Scott Boras is having the winter of a lifetime.
— Andy McCullough (@ByMcCullough) December 11, 2019
Wrote last month that Scott Boras could sign players for $1 billion this winter. The last two days have seen $569 million on two players alone.
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) December 11, 2019
Live look at Scott Boras. pic.twitter.com/bdMdfQPSey
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) December 11, 2019
With that contract, Gerrit Cole should do every postgame presser in a Boras Corp hat.
— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) December 11, 2019
Above all, though, was one prevailing story: The Yankees are back where they belong, as the heavy-spending villains of baseball.
The Death Star is indeed fully operational.
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) December 11, 2019
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