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Gerrit Cole's Top Moments, Quotes from Introductory Yankees Press Conference

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 18, 2019

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone, left, and pitcher Gerrit Cole hold up a jersey as Cole is introduced as the baseball club's newest player during a media availability, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 in New York. The pitcher agreed to a 9-year, $324 million contract. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

Gerrit Cole officially joined the New York Yankees on Wednesday when he signed a nine-year contract that could keep him with the organization through the 2028 season. 

Per MLB Network's Jon Heyman, Cole will earn $324 million if he finishes the deal. His contract includes an opt out after the 2024 season. 

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters the offer Cole accepted was the second one made by the team: "It was our best offer that was coming...there wasn't going to be any more negotiations after that."

In addition to Cole signing his record-breaking deal, the largest ever given to a pitcher, the three-time All-Star met with the media to talk about playing in pinstripes. 

New York Yankees @Yankees

Officially put in Pinstripes. https://t.co/TMgzFCoGUM

Cole, who grew up a Yankees fan, brought a memento from his childhood with him to celebrate joining the franchise:

YES Network @YESNetwork

HE KEPT THE SIGN! https://t.co/3E7BDXKESl

Bryan Hoch @BryanHoch

“I’m here. I’ve always been here.” - @GerritCole45 https://t.co/NFXEH4u4Uo

Bill Perlman of Newsday wrote on Dec. 11 about taking photographs for the Star-Ledger during Game 6 of the 2001 World Series between the Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks. One of the pictures he took that night was of an 11-year-old Cole holding that sign. 

After that brief step back into his childhood, Cole began to look forward about the process of pitching under the spotlight in New York and his decision to join the Yankees:

YES Network @YESNetwork

Gerrit Cole on handling pitching in New York: "Pressure is a privilege." https://t.co/QSORigRKwd

YES Network @YESNetwork

Gerrit Cole on why he chose to sign with the Yankees: It was my dream... It's the best organization in the league. https://t.co/byvH7LN0iZ

Cole told reporters that when he received a Yankees hat from the organization after initially agreeing to terms, he "barely took it off for three days."

Before wrapping up his press conference, Cole acknowledged longtime MLBPA executive director Marvin Miller, who was recently elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the veterans committee, and Curt Flood for their work to create free agency in the sport.

"To all the players that have sacrificed for us to get us in this position and preserve the integrity of the game that we all love," Cole said. 

The Yankees made Cole their primary target this offseason. They finally landed him, capping off an 11-year courtship that first started when they drafted him No. 28 overall out of Orange Lutheran High School in 2008. 

Cole decided not to sign at the time and attended UCLA for three years. The right-hander transformed himself into the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into his own after being traded to the Houston Astros prior to the 2018 season. 

After posting a 2.68 ERA with 602 strikeouts in 412.2 innings over the past two seasons in Houston, the Yankees are betting on Cole to become their ace and lead them back to the World Series for the first time since 2009.