The Yankees just landed the biggest catch on the free agent market, right-hander Gerrit Cole is headed to New York on a nine-year, $324 million deal, multiple media outlets reported late Tuesday night.
The contract surpasses the seven-year, $245 million deal that right-hander Stephen Strasburg got while re-signing with the Washington Nationals on Monday.
The average annual value of Cole’s pact is $36 million, topping Strasburg’s $35 million annual average value for the record among pitchers. Strasburg’s $245 million total also stood for just one day as the record amount for a pitcher’s contract.
Cole’s contract also features a full no-trade clause, according to multiple media reports.
Cole, 29, lost a close vote to his then-Houston Astros teammate Justin Verlander for the American League Cy Young Award this year. Cole went 20-5 with a career-best 2.50 ERA, but he was almost unhittable the second half of the season. He finished 16-0 with a 1.78 ERA over his last 22 starts.
Cole also led the majors with 326 strikeouts, and he came in third in the AL with 212 1/3 innings pitched. In the postseason, he went 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA in helping the Astros reach the World Series.
The Astros acquired Cole in January 2018 from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a four-player package that included right-hander Joe Musgrove, and he turned in two exceptional seasons for Houston. He finished a combined 35-10 with a 2.68 ERA in 65 starts as an Astro while earning the second and third All-Star selections of his career.
In five seasons with the Pirates to start his career, Cole went 59-42 with a 3.50 ERA.
The Yankees were in the market for rotation help after their starting staff was diminished by injuries and the suspension of Domingo German this year.
The Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers also reportedly were in on the bidding for Cole, a Southern California native who pitched for UCLA.
–Field Level Media