7. Gerrit Cole – 7 Years, $252 Million Remaining
Cole’s contract is nice and clean: $36 million annually through his age-37 season. Simple. Pristine. You either get it or you don’t.
That hefty price point will always lend itself to wild fan base mood swings, but that’s not how we should evaluate the effectiveness of a long-term pact.
Of course the Bombers are running a risk here, but they didn’t tack on additional years to pay Cole into his 40s. Age 37 is unlikely to be the right-hander’s peak, but there’s also a good chance that one of the game’s elite arms doesn’t fall entirely off a cliff by that point.
And speaking of tack … call Cole “average” since MLB’s latest ban on foreign substances went into effect, but he’s largely displayed a similar level of dominance. Last August, he finished 3-0 with an 0.51 ERA and 24 whiffs in 17.2 innings before a balky hamstring struck him down for the remainder of the campaign. This season, he’s shaken off three difficult grind-it-out outings at the start of the season to go 4-1 with a 3.31 ERA and 62 Ks in 51.2 innings through his start on May 23 (another tough one that inflated the numbers a bit).
Cole’s deal is a risk the Yankees can afford to take, and there’s enough evidence on the table that he can persevere without adhesive. It was the sudden alteration to the baseballs last June that really got him (temporarily).
Will Cole still be elite without his Little Buddy in 2027? Unlikely, but possible. Regardless, his true talent level remains high enough that even four or five more great years will more than justify this inflated deal.