Former Houston Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole declared himself no longer “an employee of the team” within minutes of Houston’s World Series defeat at the hands of the Washington Nationals on October 30. But despite rumors that Cole will sign with a southern California team, near his boyhood home, a future Hall of Fame New York Yankees hurler has a different idea.
Yankees lefty CC Sabathia retired at the conclusion of the 2019 campaign, after spending the last 11 seasons of his 19-year career with the Yankees. Now he has apparently decided to spend his time stumping for free agents to sign with his former club — starting with Cole. And according to the New York Post, the 39-year-old Sabathia knows just what it will take to persuade Cole to join the Bronx Bombers.
“If you give that motherf***** enough money, he’s going to want to come here,” Sabathia said on the Tuesday edition of his podcast, R2C2 is UNINTERRUPTED, as quoted by the New York Post.
Sabathia said that he was “speaking from experience,” and that he had spoken directly with Cole “many times.” These conversations apparently caused Sabathia to believe that Cole will simply sign with whichever team offers him the most cash.
When Sabathia signed his free-agent contract with the Yankees in December of 2008, it was the largest ever signed by a pitcher, at $161 million for seven years, the New York Post recounted.
Sabathia’s record has long since been surpassed. The current record for a free agent pitcher is now held by Boston Red Sox lefty David Price, who inked a seven-year, $217 million pact with that club following the 2015 season.
But Cole’s contract is expected to top even Price’s deal. According to an analysis by Dodgers Nation, Cole will likely command $245 million over seven years, an average of $35 million per season from whichever team acquires him.
The Dodgers are considered one of the favorites to sign Cole to the expected record-setting contract. But the Los Angeles Angels are also seen as leaders in the pursuit of the pitcher including by online betting oddsmakers.
Cole was born and played his high school baseball in Orange County, California, home of the Angels. He played college ball at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Sabathia, who is a native of Vallejo — a city in northern California — said on the podcast that he has spoken at length with Cole about his own experience playing for the Yankees “as a West Coast Guy.”
The Astros on Monday made Cole a “qualifying offer” of $17.8 million for a single season, according to SB Nation blog site Crawfish Boxes. But Cole is expected to reject the offer. By extending the qualifying offer to Cole, the Astros make themselves eligible to receive a compensatory draft pick from any team that ultimately signs the 29-year-old fireballer.