Cole Signing Hardly A Fait Accompli
Did the New York Yankees just buy themselves a championship?
Maybe. For the Yankees they were already so close that this might be exactly what they need to win the World Series. All things of course will not be equal next year. They could be better. Giancarlo Stanton might play the whole year. So might Aaron Judge.
Maybe not. Recent history tells us that humongous outlays of cash to one player rarely turn in to a championship. See Bryce Harper. See Kevin Brown. See Dave Winfield. You’ve already lost Didi Gregorius and there’s no guarantee that the rest of the pitching staff will be healthy enough to put up enough wins to win the A.L. East or make the playoffs.
That said, I don’t blame the Yankees a bit. Gerrit Cole is as dominant a picture as we have seen in this generation. Right now he and Jacob deGrom are elite. The Yankees had the money. The Yankee spent the money.
There’s also the off-field question of attention and media grilling. Cole isn’t a social media type, which is already a good start. Hopefully he doesn’t read the newspapers either because the New York media and their columnists seem to have nothing better to do than to tear people down. We’ve seen too many pitchers and too many players go to New York and not be able to handle the pressure. Just as we’ve seen pitchers go to other markets and not be able to succeed. Barry Zito had a huge contract in San Francisco and ended up sitting at home watching one World Series. Mike Hampton was the most sought after free agent in 1999 after back-to-back stellar seasons with the Houston Astros and then the New York Mets.
He failed spectacularly in Colorado.
Just watching Cole, though, I think the fans could burn him in effigy in the stands during a 3-2 delivery and he’d get a strikeout. He just seems to have that little something extra that will get him through whatever issues he has… if he has any at all.
They call it “stalking the mound” and I don’t think it matters what uniform is on his back, what city is pitching in, or what team is playing for. I think one of his greatest strengths is his ability to simply focus on the batter and figure out the most efficient way to get him out. I don’t think that’ll change. But I still can’t say whether it’ll be enough for the Yankees to win it all.