The Yankees Made A Big Mistake Signing Gerrit Cole
Gerrit Cole took the baseball world by storm when he signed a record breaking contract with the New York Yankees. While Yankee fans are excited about the news, in reality, it was an enormous mistake. Before you get on me, no there is no bias involved here. Before the offseason even got going, I expressed that I would not sign Gerrit Cole. You can read that here. The Yankees made a terrible mistake signing Cole.
This offseason, I stated that I would target Zack Wheeler. If you asked me who I would have signed, Wheeler would have been the guy. His contract now looks like a bargain. Would you rather have Wheeler for $118 million over 5 years or Cole for $324 million over 9 years? Any reasonable baseball fan with understanding of how big contracts like this almost never work would take Wheeler. The gap between Wheeler and Cole is closer than you think and there’s a chance Wheeler is actually the better pitcher. We’re going to soon find out.
Maybe you still think I’m nuts. That’s fine. I’m usually right about these things. The Phillies would take back the Bryce Harper contract in a second if they could. The Padres would do the same with Manny Machado. The funny part is I said I wouldn’t have signed either. I said I would have signed DJ LeMahieu and I was right. The funny thing is the Wheeler, Cole, and Stephen Strasburg market has a similar feel to it except it’s pitching related.
Gerrit Cole is a great pitcher. He wasn’t a great pitcher three years ago. In his final year with Pittsburgh, Cole tossed a 4.26 ERA. Are you getting that guy or the guy we saw in Houston? My bet is that nobody has better information than Houston. The Yankees are paying Cole to be the 2019 Cole for 9 years. The problem is there’s almost no chance he throws a 2.50 on a yearly basis in hitter-friendly Yankee stadium.
This is about projection. Gerrit Cole is about to enter his age 29 season and will turn 30 on September 8th. When Cole is making $36 million per year when he’s 38, good luck. Maybe he can perform during ages 36, 37, 38. The problem is Max Scherzer is the outlier, not the exception. There’s a lot more Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Robinson Cano disaster deals than good big money contracts. Even the Red Sox. While paying David Price was worth it after winning a World Series, they would love nothing more than to move that contract today. That’s with 3 more years to go and that was a 7 year deal.
Here’s the other thing about Max Scherzer. That guy cares. He would headbutt a brick wall if it meant pitching one more inning when his team was already up 8-0. That guy is a psycho. That guy I will pay. Gerrit Cole? He watched his team lose Game 7 of the World Series at home and immediately threw on a Scott Boras hat and basically refused to answer questions. I don’t want guys like that on my baseball team. If I hand someone that much money, I sure as hell better trust that person. Money changes people. Right now I trust a drunk guy who drank a half of a case to drive 2 hours home than I do Gerrit Cole. He doesn’t care about winning. He just wanted his check. I believe in cultures. I don’t want someone like that on my baseball team.
Poor Yankee fans are excited today. They were also excited when they traded for Giancarlo Stanton. How has that one worked out? I was right about that one too. Stanton is a lot like Cole. Doesn’t care about winning, just wants his money. You better be careful who you pay in baseball and paying Gerrit Cole a record deal was a big mistake.