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MLBOpinion

Gerrit Cole Never Felt Pressure Like He Will With The Yankees

He's entering the Bronx Zoo...land of get down or lay down.

The Steinbrenner Sons took a page from late owner George Steinbrenner’s World Series book and opened up the treasure chest for 29-year-old, free agent pitcher Gerrit Cole. The Yankees blessed Cole with a 9-year, $324 million bag, which includes an opt-out clause after the fifth year.  

Cole was being heavily pursued by other teams, but emphatically believing that he was the final piece to a championship mix, the Yankees threw financial sensibilities to the wind and concentrated on the championship value and ace stability that the 29-year-old brings to the organization. 

With the departure of former ace CC Sabathia — who the Yankees signed as a superstar free agents in 2009 — Cole will now lead the rotation. 

Dwelling in the Rotten Apple, you get tackled, Or caught by the devil’s lasso, sh*t is a hassle.” — Nas

 

Hal Steinbrenner said, “Go get me Garrett Cole” and longtime GM Brian Chasman did it. The Cy Young winner comes to New York with all of the pressure in the world. It’s pressure he never experienced with the Pittsburgh Pirates or even the popular Houston Astros. If you don’t win in those towns but get paid big bucks, no one’s going to crucify you daily in the media. 

Cole has no choice but to pull a CC and win a World Serie in his first Bronx Zoo season. He’s certainly capable, but there’s always an adjustment period because the Yankee Stadium atmosphere is a different beast. Just look at his brief stint in Houston. Cole went 35-10 and finished Top 5 in the Cy Young voting both seasons, losing out to his teammate Verlander in 2019.  He got all of the accolades of a superstar pitcher, but Houston didn’t win a World Series.

That won’t work with the Yankees. He hasn’t closed any deals yet, but he is entering his peak with the most offensively potent team he’s ever played for. The fans expect Clayton Kershaw-type numbers. 

One bad outing…one inclination that Cole isn’t giving 100 percent to earn his bag and the $324 million man might be getting booed for the entire month of the season until he pitches a gem.

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Then again, if he performs to the back of his baseball card, then he’ll quickly become another vaunted Yankees legend. The No. 1 man for the No.1 Brand in sports. That’s not a bad gig at all.

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