Aaron Boone 'Confident' Gerrit Cole Will 'Thrive' After Record Yankees Contract

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2019

Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) delivers against the New York Yankees during the first inning of Game 3 of baseball's American League Championship Series, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone has no concerns about new ace Gerrit Cole's ability to succeed in the Bronx after the latter reportedly signed a record-breaking contract Tuesday.

"I think he'll thrive. His greatness, for one thing. His mindset," Boone said Wednesday, per MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. "We got to spend a lot of time together and really learn about him, and him about us. Everything in him suggests that this is a guy that would thrive anywhere, but I'm confident, especially in New York."

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported Tuesday night that Cole had agreed to a nine-year, $324 million contract with New York. It's the biggest deal for a pitcher, and his average annual value of $36 million is the highest for any player in league history.

A contract like that comes with sky-high expectations—as does playing in pinstripes. Cole's track record, though, gives Boone no reason for concern.

The top overall pick in the 2011 draft, Cole has a 3.22 ERA in his seven-year career. He finished second in the 2019 American League Cy Young Award voting after going 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA for the Houston Astros, leading the majors with 326 strikeouts in a career-high 212.2 innings.

From May 27 to Oct. 15, the three-time All-Star went 19-0 with a 1.59 ERA over a 25-start stretch. That was highlighted by a seven-inning shutout performance at Yankee Stadium in Game 3 of the 2019 American League Championship Series. 

Cole picked up the victory, and the Astros defeated the Yankees in six games. Houston then fell to the Washington Nationals in the 2019 World Series.

New York's pursuit of Cole—a lifelong Yankees fan—dates back more than a decade. The Yankees selected the right-hander in the first round of the 2008 draft, but he attended UCLA instead. They later attempted to acquire him from the Pittsburgh Pirates following the 2017 season, only for Houston to land the star.

Cole will now be tasked with trying to help the Yankees end a decadelong title drought as they chase championship No. 28.