On Wednesday morning from the Bronx, the Yankees officially introduced a clean-shaven Gerrit Cole as the newest member of the organization.
The last time we heard from Gerrit Cole was after Game 7 of the World Series when he reluctantly spoke to the media while wearing a Scott Boras brand baseball cap. After winning Game 5 versus the Nationals, Cole was peeved that he wasn’t used in the series finale. At that moment, Yankees fans were more hopeful than ever that their team would finally reel in Hal Steinbrenner’s “great white whale.”
And so with Steinbrenner’s mega-money blessing and some surefire negotiating skills from general manager Brian Cashman, who had help from manager Aaron Boone, pitching coach Matt Blake and Yankee great Andy Pettitte, the Bombers beat out both Los Angeles clubs for Cole’s signature.
Although it took a record contract for a pitcher — nine-years, $324 million ($36M AAV) with a full no-trade clause and an opt-out after the 2024 season, the Yankees solidified their starting rotation with a no-doubt No. 1 ace.
On Monday from the Legends Club at Yankee Stadium, Cole was finally introduced to the New York media, alongside his wife, Amy, agent Scott Boras, and members of the Yankee delegation.
More from Yankees News
- Yankees chose worst possible player to ring in New Year on 2023 team calendar
- Yankees make upside play, sign former Rangers top prospect outfielder
- Michael Kay’s Anthony Volpe story will get Yankees fans amped for Opening Day
- No, Yankees should not acquire Trevor Bauer for 2023
- Yankees’ Marwin González replaces Red Sox LF in Japan in logical next step
A much different demeanor than the one we saw after Game 7, Cole was affable, relaxed and genuinely appeared to enjoy the spotlight shining his way.
During the press conference, which I watched via fuboTV, Cole offered several soundbites that are sure to excite the Yankee faithful well in advance of Spring Training.
First and foremost, Cole let it be known he is “hungry as ever” to win a World Series. He also stated after finalizing his contract, there was a “30-pound contraption” that contained an iPad with everything a Yankee needs to know, a bottle of fine wine and a Yankee hat which he didn’t take off for three days.
Cole explained how a kid from Southern California became a Yankees fan in the first place, stating that his father spent some of his adolescence in New York and fell in love with the team. “Every young kid wants to be like their day, right?” Cole said.
The 29-year-old right-hander said it was hard not to fall in love with the Yankees from 1994-to-2002; joked that he got razor burn for the first time in 10 years; and that he’ll handle pitching in New York just fine because “pressure is a privilege.”
Moments after donning the iconic pinstripes (yes, he got his customary No. 45 jersey as Luke Voit will switch to No. 59) and interlocking NY hat for the first time in public, the infamous sign that an 11-year-old Cole held at the 2001 World Series made a surprise appearance.
Standing next to Amy, Steinbrenner, and Boras, Cole held the faded banner and uttered two simple sentences that will stick with Yankees fan for a very long time.
"“I’m here. I’ve always been here.”"