The Yankees held a press conference on Wednesday morning to officially introduce Gerrit Cole, the team’s new ace right-hander. The two sides previously agreed to a nine-year, $324-million contract during the Winter Meetings. A record-smashing deal like that deserves pomp and circumstance, and the Bombers delivered that. You can watch the entire session here, but these highlights stand out as the best moments.
Cole describes the Yankees’ gifts
Last week Joel Sherman reported that the Yankees’ pitch to Cole featured a “30-pound-ish contraption shaped like home plate” which contained the answers to any question a free agent would have about signing with New York. The gadget caught the attention of fans and reporters alike, so of course Cole had to elaborate:
It is a large, gold home plate—probably about 12 inches high and the size of home plate. And when you open it, it’s embroidered in pinstripes. There’s an iPad that kind of opens up to the top with everything you need to know about the Yankees organization: background on the Steinbrenners, background on the front office and the development program, the spring training stuff, where to live in Manhattan, where to live outside of the city, personal messages from some of the players...
“I was also impressed with the wine,” he said of the 2004 and 2005 vintage bottles of Masseto Merlot the Yankees provided him. “Gotta throw one out to Lou Cucuzza; he hears me running my mouth in the clubhouse on the visiting side, and he knew exactly what bottle to have Ben get. And it was a nice choice.”
The Yankees would make terrific Secret Santas, wouldn’t they?
Marvin Miller, Curt Flood get shoutouts
Cole arrived in New York with a reputation of being one of baseball’s most thoughtful players. He’s circumspect, eloquent, and has a deep respect for his game’s history. The 29-year-old illustrated all of these qualities during his introductory press conference.
Nowhere is that more evident than when he acknowledged two towering figures in baseball labor history: Marvin Miller and Curt Flood, the men responsible for establishing free agency in the sport.
I think I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention a few other names special to the baseball family, Marvin Miller, specifically. What a special year for him to get inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. We’ve seen competitiveness blossom and free agency blossom, and he played a major role in that. Curt Flood, as well, challenging the reserve clause was essential to the blossoming sport we have today. And to all the players that have sacrificed before us, to get us in this position and preserve the integrity of the game we all love.
Cole’s maturity and thoughtfulness shined through with that mention.
He. Brought. The. Sign.
“I would just like to say I’m here. I’ve always been here.”
Hats off to Cole. The Yankees couldn’t hand over their rotation to anyone better for the next decade.