Yankees ace Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka are very real friends, y’all.
And yes, Cole got a chance to say goodbye to the Yanks’ stalwart No. 2 starter before a very long and impactful offseason.
Prior to his first American free agency without an opt-in option since 2013-14, Tanaka returned to Japan with his future in flux.
But before he left, the Coles and the Tanakas made sure to get together for the now-famous sushi summit. Hearing Cole describe the double date will make any Bombers fan a little nostalgic for…well, two months ago, and what could’ve been over the course of a full season.
As two lovers of good sushi, Cole and Tanaka wanted to make sure they got to experience this particular rendezvous before 2021 — and after a season unlike any other, where dining out was basically prohibited.
Since then, Cole’s laid low in his “good friend’s” text messages, not wanting to bother him too much during the holiday season.
Though Tanaka is extremely unlikely to return to the Yankees at this point, the Coles might luck out anyway — perhaps the 32-year-old will say in New York and pitch across town?
The harsh reality of the 2020-21 offseason is that Cole could lose two stabilizing forces just one season after arriving in the Bronx, with Tanaka likely departing, and opposing teams attempting to pry his personal catcher Kyle Higashioka away after the Yankees doubled down on Gary Sanchez while continuing to explore the Yadier Molina market.
For the team’s sake, we hope the Yankees end up with some stabilizing veterans behind Cole in what looks like an extremely young rotation.
For Cole’s sake, we hope that process somehow involves circling back to Tanaka after the New Year — if he is, indeed, still available.