Yankees: Best free agent signings of the past decade

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

1. Gerrit Cole

The Yankees changed everything when they signed Gerrit Cole.

Yankees Ace and Unpaid Second Pitching Coach. Today. Tomorrow. Forever.

Full stop, it’s hard to imagine the Yankees ever signing a more impactful addition, and more perfect target than Gerrit Cole.

The lifelong Yankee fan from California has been developing his arsenal, digging deep, and building up his stamina for decades, seemingly with the sole intention of someday hearing the Bronx chanting his name.

Once the first overall pick in Pittsburgh, Cole’s electric fastball blossomed in Houston in 2018 as he took full control of the natural gifts he’d always had. The very second H-Town was eliminated in 2019, he made his intentions for departure known, plopped on a Boras Corp hat, and essentially waited for the Yankees to make the proper overture.

After a decade of bargain shopping for hits, misses, and Ellsburies (yes, that’s the plural), the Yankees didn’t hesitate. How often have we derided Yankee playoff teams for being an ace short? And how often is the perfect ace available forever for money alone?

Cole’s the smartest signing they’ve made since CC Sabathia. The money and years are irrelevant. The culture has already changed. He was the key.