Highlights From The Gerrit Cole Press Conference

This is Cole’s first win.

The big day is here. After an eleven year pursuit, the New York Yankees will unveil their new ace Gerrit Cole today. He was the main target of the offseason plan and they gave him 324 million reasons to put on the pinstripes. This is clearly a significant day in recent Yankees history. We will have all the highlights along with some brief thoughts of the presser.

  • Sitting on the dais for the press conference are Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, Aaron Boone, Lonn Trost, Randy Levine, Michael Fishman, Matt Blake and Scott Boras. The team brought out the heavy hitters of the Yankee brain trust. This signing is a big deal and the team is not shying away from it.
  • Brian Cashman begins his statement with the story of Cole making the decision to turn down the Yankees draft offer to attend UCLA. Cashman goes on to detail the journey the team went through to acquire Cole through trade and free agency. Cashman acknowledges the hard work Cole has put in to be one of the elite free agents in the game. He believes that process created this moment as the right time for both the player and the team. Cashman also notes there is no guarantee for future success with this partnership.
  • Aaron Boone says this is a big deal for the franchise. He got the word three or four weeks ago that the Yankees were going to pursue Gerrit Cole. Boone describes meeting with Gerrit Cole as a privilege. The process of getting to know a player and person like Cole is a privilege in his mind that he did not take for granted. Boone understands how great of a player Cole is, but he was blown away by Gerrit Cole the person is. Aaron stresses the importance of culture to him and he believes Cole will be a tremendous addition to the locker room. Boone was especially impressed with Cole’s ability to communicate the processes, the nuances and approach of his craft. The Yankees manager is looking forward to experiencing the ups and downs of their journey that will ultimately be a fruitful one.
  • Gerrit Cole is officially number 45. I would love to know what he offered Luke Voit to get that number if anything at all.
  • Cole looks amazing in pinstripes if I say so myself. I say that with absolutely no bias at all.
  • Gerrit Cole brings up Hal, Boras and his wife Amy to present the original sign from when he was eleven years old and attended Game 6 of the 2001 World Series. This is the same sign from the now famous picture of Cole hanging over the outfield wall. Cole then says “I’ve always been here.” That was a very dope moment.
  • Cole gives thanks to his teammates, coaches, Boras and former teammates. He also took time to shout out Marvin Miller entering the Hall of Fame and Curt Flood pioneering free agency for the current group of players. It was a really impressive gesture to recognize those who came before him to pave the way for this historical contract. Gerrit Cole is pretty involved in the Player’s Association and this is an example of that involvement. That moment reveals a lot about Cole the person that both Boone and Cashman went out of their way to acknowledge.
  • Cole says he joined the Yankees because it was his dream. He believes it is the best organization in the league. It was his second chance to join them and he took it. He feels a lot of confidence in the organization and Cashman’s vision. It also helped that the Yankees were his favorite team.
  • Cole became a Yankee fan through his father who went to school for a few years in New York. He said it was hard not to fall in love with the Yankees during their dynasty years. The Yankees were on tv a lot right after school ended since he lived on the west coast and he watched a lot of the games.
  • It was extremely tough to turn down the Yankees after he was drafted. Cole and his family wanted to honor their commitment to UCLA and even more importantly, to education. His father is a PHd and education is paramount in their family.
  • “Pressure is a privilege.” The pressure of pitching in the playoffs is the reward for playing well in the regular season. He felt like he could see a title in his sights with Houston, but they weren’t able to accomplish that goal. Cole doesn’t think there is a better place to finish that championship journey in New York.
  • He explains the 30 pound contraption! It is a gold plated home plate that opens up and reveals an iPad. It gives a history of the New York Yankees, where to live in the city and outside of the city and other pertinent information that would inform him and his family about the organization and the city. Cole also mentioned that after he signed the Yankees gave him a Yankee hat and he didn’t take it off for about three days.
  • Cole makes it very clear that he wasn’t thinking of free agency when he took the mound in Game 3 of the ALCS. He understood the magnitude of the moment and the challenge in front of him so signing with the Yankees was the last thing on his mind.

Here are some immediate feelings from the presser:

1. If you could win a championship for a press conference, Gerrit Cole just won his first ring. He was smart, engaging, funny, reflective, selfless and confident. You could immediately see all of the qualities that would make him attractive to any franchise beyond his golden arm. He said all the right things that Yankees fans wanted to hear today.

2. The most important quote from the presser is “pressure is a privilege.” I wouldn’t be surprised if this became a t-shirt in the near future. The phrase perfectly captures Cole’s competitive character. He is embracing the challenge and journey of winning a championship in the largest market in the world. There wasn’t any doubt that Cole wanted to be a Yankee. He mentioned his decision to join the Yankees came down to his heart. There is nothing sweeter to Yankees fans ears than hearing an elite player say they wanted to put on the pinstripes. His ultimate goal is to at least win championship number 30 for the Yankees. Those are lofty goals and I am here for all of it.

3. We have to talk about the sign. That moment was awesome. It feels like this was Cole’s first big Yankee moment and he hasn’t taken the mound yet. Showing everyone the sign was great, but what that gesture represents is even better. It perfectly captures his fandom of the team. This was also a rare moment when a free agent expressed genuine and raw excitement to be a part of his new team. Cole was not putting on a show here. Gerrit Cole signing with the Yankees was truly a dream come true scenario moment for him and he didn’t shy away from it. The Yankees wanted him and he wanted the Yankees. It’s like a feel good ending from some rom-com and I am here for all of it.

4. We all may learn about the craft of pitching over the next nine years. Cole is so impressive when he talks about his process and use of analytics. He is very aware of what makes him good and he is skilled at articulating it. He is also not shy about sharing that information with the public. I go back to his post game interview on the field with Ken Rosenthal after his Game 3 ALCS victory. He succinctly summed up his game plan to attack the Yankees lineup and briefly discussed the adjustments he had to make when he knew he didn’t have great command. The Yankees have mentioned a few times that Cole knows who he is and can go into great detail of what makes that possible. It feels like we’ll all be smarter fans with Cole on the team now.

5. This is a perfect fit. CC Sabathia was a perfect fit when he signed in the winter of 2008. I would say this is an even better match. The Yankees fan plays for his favorite team. The Yankees clear need for an ace. The clear embrace of the market and expectations by that ace pitcher. The established core of the 2020 Yankees team. The arrival of the new, cutting edge pitching coach who emphasizes non traditional approaches to the craft. This is all really exciting. If you don’t want the season to start tomorrow after experiencing this then nothing will. I am fired up and ready for the new season.

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9 Comments

  1. chip56

    Randy, I completely agree with you – AND – I would say that, especially in the case of Estrada, he has shown himself to be a capable BUMINF. Wade did as well, but I can accept the argument that he did it in September when results are skewed by call ups.

    I’ve long held the belief that being a competent back up is a lot harder than people think. Going from playing every day to being effective playing once-a-week is a lot more difficult than it is credited with being.

    I would like to bring in a Matt Duffy, but I think the priority would/should be elsewhere. Personally, I’m more concerned with the outfield depth than the infield depth.

    • Randy

      I don’t think we know that about Thairo. I don’t even think he’s above Wade on the depth chart, which says something because Wade is…not good (for a MLBer) in my opinion.

      The Yankees can always bring Maybin back. I’m not as concerned about outfield depth. They have good depth and Granite is a good pick up.

      • chip56

        Respectfully disagree with you on Thairo’s spot on the depth chart and that Granite is a good pickup. I think Granite is a nice AAA player much like Billy Burns was, but that’s it.

        I don’t think they’ll bring back Maybin, just because of roster construction issues: Tauchman has to be on the 26 so unless they plan to carry two outfielders on the bench I don’t see it, not when Wade and Estrada can play both INF and OF.

        Getting back to Thairo, of course, the sample size in the majors was small, but all he’s done AT EVERY LEVEL is hit and play above average defense. Even in the small sample in the majors, he did both.

        Like I said, you want to add a Cesar Hernandez or Matt Duffy, I’m not saying no. I just think replacing Estrada is down on the list of things I think the team needs to worry about.

        • Randy

          That is fine if you want to disagree. Our views on where they stand depth chart wise are irrelevant. If they go with these two guys, spring training would determine the winner.

          There is no compelling reason to have Wade and Thairo on the roster at the same time. Again, this is a championship contender. You can’t have two spots taken up by unproven guys including one who is overmatched by MLB pitching. That is a poor application of roster construction and frankly would be a failure in my opinion.

          If you said they couldn’t sign Maybin because of Frazier than sure. Not signing Maybin because of two unproven guys isn’t a strong reason unless they refuse to spend money the rest of the winter.

          And they’re not “replacing” Estrada. Estrada doesn’t have a spot on the team. My original point was upgrading the back up MI position with a proven MLB veteran. For me, that is the move and not finding out if a guy like Estrada may or may not be able to handle duties in case of a month long injury. Estrada, Wade, et al are candidates not incumbents.

  2. Vjg

    Super excited, hearing boras was fun as was Blake. Boone looks like a kid who cant contain his excitment his enthusiam is really what i like most about him.

    My personal opinion is that backup catcher and the unbalanced lineup are the most important things to focus on. You cant field a championship level team with an unproven higgy as a backup no matter how much i like him. Gary gets hurt often and is valuable occasionally as a DH. A backup catcher should be #1 priority imo.

    The pen without delin can be improved just thru either happ, german, Montgomery, or deive. Cole should handle more innings and potentially leave somewhat of a small emphasis on pen games. I’d love a delin or hader but i think theres more important things.

    Im more comfortable with tauchman as a backup over wade, holder, and (blanking on the name, the prospect who was shot last year) in the infield. Though breaking up the righties in the lineup with a lefty is paramount. This may be through improving at MI or at 1st, etc. But i really think thats key.

    Our RHs can hit lefties and righties (mostly) but ive heard tons of pitching greats suggest that stacked righties gives them a break.

    • chip56

      You would probably have Tauchman AND Wade on the bench. New rules say you have to have a 4 position player bench so I assume as of right now it’s Tauchman, Wade, Estrada, Higashioka.

      • Randy

        Yeah they need a backup MI upgrade.

        • chip56

          Why? All Thairo does is play well when he’s put in the lineup. Wade may not be much of a hitter, but dude can field all over the place.

          Plus, the three starters (DJ, Urshela, Torres) all can play multiple positions.

          And don’t forget, that with the alignment the way it currently is, Stanton will be in LF with Andujar at DH, so he represents another infield option.

          Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be opposed to adding, but I don’t think BUMINF is a clear need.

          • Randy

            I talk about this too much on twitter so I’ll keep it short. If you’re putting 324 million into a pitcher you’re making a clear attempt to go all in. This is a team that believes in load management, depth and versatity. BUMINF is an important position because of that. These spots should be filled by as many vet options as possible. The time to prove oneself on the MLB level is over. I’m fine with them as minor league depth. They should be adding. These spots are precious especially for a team that preaches the importance of depth.

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