Report: Yankees sign Cole to 9-year, $324M contract
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The New York Yankees signed free-agent starter Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324-million contract, sources told Jeff Passan of ESPN.

The ace right-hander has an opt-out clause after the fifth year of the contract (2024), Passan adds.

Cole's contract is the richest for a pitcher in MLB history, both in terms of total value and the $36-million annual average. He surpassed the seven-year, $245-million deal Stephen Strasburg signed with the Washington Nationals on Monday.

None of the money attached to Cole's deal will be deferred and the contract includes a no-trade clause, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. He will be paid exactly $36 million each season, Sherman adds.

An official introduction of Cole is expected to take place sometime next week at Yankee Stadium, MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reports.

Cole's agent, Scott Boras, told Jack Curry of YES Network that the 29-year-old starter was swayed to the Bronx in part by former Yankees star Andy Pettitte, whose stories of pitching in New York played a big role in the decision. Cole hails from California, but he grew up a Yankee fan and Pettitte was one of his favorite players, according to James Wagner of the New York Times.

Before the deal was announced, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels were seen as the primary competitors in the Cole sweepstakes.

The Dodgers' offer to Cole was for eight years and $300 million with deferrals, sources told Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times. The Angels' offer came in under $300 million over eight years, also with deferrals, Castillo adds.

The 29-year-old joins a rotation that already features Luis Severino, James Paxton, and Masahiro Tanaka. New York hasn't made it back to the World Series since winning the 2009 Fall Classic. Prior to the 2010s, the Yankees hadn't gone a decade without a World Series appearance since the 1910s.

He was originally a first-round pick by the Yankees in the 2008 draft, but he didn't sign. He was later selected first overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011.

After being traded to the Houston Astros before the 2018 season, his career reached new heights. Over two All-Star seasons, he went 35-10 with a 2.68 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 602 strikeouts in 412 2/3 innings (13.1 K/9).

He punched out 326 batters in 2019 alone and finished second in Cy Young voting to Astros teammate Justin Verlander. No Yankees pitcher has ever struck out 300 in a season, according to the New York Times' Tyler Kepner.

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Report: Yankees sign Cole to 9-year, $324M contract
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