Prized free-agent pitcher Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees have agreed to a record nine-year, $324 million contract, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
The deal includes an opt-out after five years, according to Passan, and it also has a full no-trade clause, sources told ESPN. It surpasses the deal Stephen Strasburg finalized with the Washington Nationals on Monday for most total money and annual average salary for a pitcher, at $36 million.
Cole, 29, the runner-up to teammate Justin Verlander for the AL Cy Young Award, was dominant in 2019, posting a 20-5 record in the regular season as the Houston Astros led the majors with 107 wins. The hard-throwing right-hander set an Astros record by winning his last 16 regular-season decisions and topped the AL with a career-best 2.50 ERA. His career-high 326 strikeouts were the most in the majors and broke an Astros franchise record that had stood since 1979, when J.R. Richard fanned 313.
Cole had only one loss after May 22. That came in Game 1 of the World Series against the Nationals, but he redeemed himself with a stellar outing in Game 5. In the postseason, Cole went 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA in 36⅔ innings.