Houston Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole in action during the first inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels.

Houston Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole in action during the first inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels. (Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire)

Gerrit Cole in moving east.

The three-time All-Star has agreed to a nine-year, $324 million contract with the New York Yankees that will make him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history. The deal comes just two days after the Washington Nationals re-upped World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg to a then-record seven-year, $245 million deal.

Oddsmakers at BetAmerica have taken stock of Cole’s lucrative deal and have adjusted the Yankees’ World Series odds accordingly, from +600 December 10 to +400 today. Rounding out the top three are the Houston Astros at +550 and the ever-present Los Angeles Dodgers at +600.

Odds to win the World Series

Team2020 World Series Odds
New York Yankees+400
Houston Astros+550
Los Angeles Dodgers+600
Atlanta Braves+1200
Washington Nationals +1400
Boston Red Sox+1400

Cole is a rare talent

The contract of $324 million is a ludicrous amount of money for any player, but Cole may be worth every cent. The 29-year-old right-hander went 20-5 in 2019 and led the American League in ERA, ERA+, strikeouts and fielding-independent pitching. Cole may not have won the Cy Young (that honor went to teammate Justin Verlander), but he did etch his name in the record book by becoming the first pitcher in MLB history to strike out 10 batters or more in nine consecutive starts.

As good as Cole was last season, there’s reason to believe his best is yet to come. The Newport Beach native set career-best marks in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, WHIP and WAR in 2019 and consistently hit triple digits on the radar gun, even late in games. Cole was especially dominant following the All-Star break, as he went 11-0 with a 1.79 ERA and surrendered one run or fewer in 10 of his 14 outings. The Yankees are banking on more performances like that, after backing up the Brink’s truck to his front door.

Cole immediately bolsters New York’s rotation

Cole fills a major position of need for the Yankees, who ranked 14th in team ERA and 16th in quality starts in 2019. Part of the issue was injuries, as two-time All-Star Luis Severino appeared in only one regular-season game, but New York’s other starters also underwhelmed. Masahiro Tanaka (4.45) and J.A. Happ (4.91) both posted sky-high earned run averages, and CC Sabathia finished the season with just five wins in 22 starts.

Yankees aren’t done yet

Cole may not be the only new addition to New York’s rotation this offseason. The Yankees also had preliminary discussion with Strasburg before he re-signed with the Nats and are rumored to be interested in three-time World Series champion Madison Bumgarner and Mets lefty Zack Wheeler. Bumgarner is several years removed from earning World Series MVP honors, but he’s fresh off making a career-high 34 starts. Wheeler, meanwhile, was 11-8 with the Mets last season, and has shown an ability to thrive in New York.

Regardless of whom they land, this much is clear: the Yankees are back and they’re open for business. Major League Baseball’s other 29 teams have been put on notice.


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