You may have heard the news. Gerrit Cole is a member of the New York Yankees. (CLICK HERE TO BUY THE MERCH!) Brian Cashman inked his white whale and Hal Steinbrenner put in the work to make this happen. According to Jack Curry, Mr. Steinbrenner did more than just sign the check. He went about his business in a way that would have made poppa proud.
Just spoke to Scott Boras. Asked the agent what helped make Gerrit Cole choose the Yankees and he said, “ Five conversations with Hal Steinbrenner,” and “Andy Pettitte.” Boras was impacted by Hal’s persistence and Cole was influenced by Andy’s stories about pitching in NY.
For the last few years, there’s been frustration with Cashman and ownership. Rightfully so too. In 2018, the Yankees were blown out at home by Boston after Luis Severino got knocked around. Then in 2019, we saw the Savages get shut down by the likes of Cole and the Astros. The Yankee pitching last postseason turned out to be statistically better than the Astros but still. Something felt like it was missing.
Now they have that missing piece. (At least you would hope they do.) Cole is the definition of an ace.
At the end of the day, the person we can thank for finishing this masterful Bronx puzzle is none other than Hal Steinbrenner aka Big Stein Jr. We rely on Brian Cashman’s negotiation tactics to lead us to salvation, as we’ve seen with the Luke Voits and Gio Urshelas of the world. But without the money, there are no deals for a Cole. Cashman may have the influence on where the money goes but, for all his wizardry, he doesn’t have the button to let the Steinbrenner money flow.
Now I think we all can agree. We have to get off Mr. Steinbrenner’s back. (Not Hal. Show some respect on the man’s name.)
Mr. Steinbrenner gave the okay for this. He also gave the okay for the Giancarlo Stanton trade, coming off a season when Stanton brutalized NL pitching. Decisions such as these are no small tasks since they come with huge risks. If these guys don’t work out you have a very long albatross on your hands like we saw with Jacoby Ellsbury. That’s okay though, because the reward is being able to live on forever.
Making Up for the Past?
In some ways, the Cole move is an upgrade from some of the moves George Steinbrenner funded in his latter years of controlling the team. Don’t forget, there was that time Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte were replaced with lackluster arms. On top of this, valuable resources which could have gone into trading for Curt Schilling went into Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield. Those arms imploded and A-Rod and Sheffield looked anemic against Boston in that horror movie known as the 2004 ALCS.
In the last 4 games of that ALCS, Sheffield hit .059 with a .297 OPS and A-Rod hit .118 with a .580 OPS. Schilling went on to be a hero that series and won two championships in Boston. The Yankees wouldn’t come close to the World Series in 2009 until, you guessed it, they got some arms in CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett. (Other moves Mr. Steinbrenner funded.)
For the first time in 20 years the Yankees will have a steady stream of pitching in Cole, Severino, Paxton, and Tanaka. Barring injuries and depending on who the 5th starter is, everyone can be confident that each and every start, the team will have a chance to win. Knock on wood but hopefully there are no more Sonny days on the calendar.