The New York Yankees won the free agent market's top prize, adding Gerrit Cole to his spin with a record $ 324 million contract for nine years on Tuesday night, said a person familiar with the Associated Press deal.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
Cole's deal set marks for pitchers in total dollars, surpassing the seven-year, $ 245 million contract Stephen Strasburg finalized a day earlier to stay with World Series champion Washington Nationals.
Its $ 36 million average is a record for any player, surpassing $ 35.5 million from Mike Trout's $ 426.5 million 12-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels, which began last season. Cole receives up to $ 36 million a year and may choose not to participate after the 2024 season. He also has a full non-trading disposition.
Agent Scott Boras negotiated the deals for Cole and Strasburg.
A 29-year-old right-hander, Cole was baseball's most dominant pitcher for much of 2019 and helped the Houston Astros win their second World Series title in three seasons.
"Obviously, when you're talking about a Gerrit Cole-level player in many ways, this is a game-changing talent," said Yankees manager Aaron Boone earlier in the day. "This is a very hungry, very motivated guy."
New York has not won the World Series since 2009 and has sought a star to lead a rotation that already includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and JA Happ or Domingo Germán, who could be suspended earlier this season under the US domestic violence policy. baseball.
General manager Brian Cashman made the change to his own manual that he used after the 2008 season, when he awarded CC Sabathia a $ 161 million seven-year contract to lead a team and establish a club presence.
Cole will greet a young hitter squad that includes Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Gary Sánchez, entering a window when New York thinks they can compete consistently for the championships.
Cole was summoned by the Yankees in the first round with the 28th high school general choice in 2008, but opted for UCLA, then was first summoned by Pittsburgh three years later. Negotiated after the 2017 season, he turned his career into two seasons with Astros.
After going from 59 to 42 with an ERA of 3.50 in five seasons with the Pirates, he flourished under the Astros analyst team. He increased the use of his four-seater fastball and curved ball, practically dropping his two-seater bolt while attacking the top of the attack zone more often.
He went 15-5 with an ERA of 2.88 in 2018, then 20-5 with an ERA of 2.50 and a 326 major league strikeout last season, finishing second with teammate Justin Verlander on the ballots. AL Cy Young Award. Only 4-5 at the end of May, he won 19-0 in the next 25 matches before losing the opening game of the World Series. He won game 5 and was available to play in game 7, but was never used.
Cashman visited Cole and his wife Amy in California last week, bringing in Boone, new pitch coach Matt Blake and special adviser Andy Pettitte.
"We're just trying to make sure we educate the player and his family about our culture, everything, who we are," said Cashman.
Cashman said he realized the risk of a lengthy, market-driven free agent contract. Coach Jacoby Ellsbury, who has lost his last two seasons due to injuries, was released this month with a season secured on a seven-year deal and $ 153 million.
But Cashman pointed to deals that worked, such as Derek Jeter's $ 189 million contract that covered 2001-10, pitcher Mike Mussina's $ 88.5 million contract for 2001-06, and Sabathia's big deal.
"Clearly, the longer the deals, the greater the risk you have," he said. "There were instances where we made long-term deals that backfired and weren't worth it. We made long-term deals where we had benefits."