In 2008, during his senior year at Lutheran High School in Orange, California, he went 8-2 with a 0.47 ERA, striking out 121 hitters in 75 innings, walking only eight. Then he committed to UCLA.
In 2008, the Yankees chose Gerrit in the first round, the 28th player chosen overall. But Cole did not sign.
GREW UP A YANKEE FAN
Cole grew up a Yankees fan because his Dad was from upstate New York. But Gerrit grew up in Southern California.
"I went to Angels games all the time,” he said. “I took a lot of flak, especially when the Angels beat the Yankees in the playoffs (in 2002).”
In 2001, a photo that ran in the Newark Star-Ledger showed an 11-year-old Cole at the World Series holding a sign that read, "Yankee Fan Today, Tomorrow, Forever."
He explained that his father grew up in Syracuse, N.Y., a Yankees fan "and he kind of passed it down." So Cole and his father went to the World Series games at Arizona in 2001, hanging out in the lobby of the Yankees' hotel and gawking at the players. Gerrit says his favorite all-time players are Lou Gehrig and Mariano Rivera.
Despite growing up a Yankee fan, Cole did not think twice about spurning the Yankees. Instead, he went to UCLA and spent three springs pitching for the Bruins, helping them go to the College World Series last season and winning the Pacific-10 Conference title this year.
"I wasn't expecting to be taken in the first round and the Yankees really handled it with class when I said no to them," Cole said. "I knew and my family knew that I wasn't ready for professional baseball. I wanted to go to college. It just wasn't time."
Cole went 21-20 with a 3.38 ERA in 50 games, 49 starts, during his three seasons at UCLA. The statistics might not have been overwhelming, but Cole's stock only rose with scouts as his fastball reached 100 mph this spring to go with a hard slider and a developing changeup. (John Perrotto-Beaver County Times-6/7/11)
Cole is mature both on and off the field, becoming a clubhouse leader.
In June 2011, Cole was only hours away from becoming the first pick in the MLB draft when he got a text from a friend.
Yankees vice president of scouting Damon Oppenheimer was checking in to wish the UCLA righthander good luck before he was selected by the Pirates.
It says a lot about Oppenheimer that he stays in touch with Cole. It also says a lot about Cole because he and his family respectfully declined to negotiate with Oppenheimer for three years after the Yankees selected the hard thrower in the first round of the 2008 draft following his senior season at Lutheran High School in Orange, California.
In 2012 and 2013,Baseball America rated Cole as the #1 prospect in the Pirates' organization.
In July 2012, Cole had an interesting first two starts at Double-A for the Altoona Curve (EL-Pirates). The lights went out at Peoples Gas Park in Altoona in Cole's first game with the Curve, causing a delay. In his next outing, he was hit in the neck by a line drive, though he sustained no injury beyond a bruise.
Gerrit said that playing pro ball has not been that easy. "It's a different game than college," Cole said in July 2012. "The speed of the game is faster. The hitters are better. The competition is better. The biggest adjustment has been to see how my pitches work in a different environment, facing professional hitters with wood bats. It's still a learning process."
One thing that hasn't changed about Cole from his college days is his almost split personality. Off the field, the 6-foot-6 Cole is quite genial. When he's pitching, though, he stomps around the mound with a scowl on his face and is as intimidating as his size would suggest.
"I'm a competitor and I think everyone who makes it to professional baseball is a competitor," he said. "That's what drives you to make it this far. You have to love the competition and you don't get better competition than in pro ball."
August 22, 2015: With the two teams locked in a battle for a Wild Card spot, the Giants-Pirates game was a big one for both Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole and San Francisco shortstop Brandon Crawford. But it was also an important game for Amy Crawford, Brandon's sister and Cole's fiancé. She was in attendance at PNC Park, and had to watch blood and beau collide.
Ever the protective brother, Brandon attempted to send Cole a warning early, blasting a pitch deep to left field. Thankfully, though, cooler heads/the awesomeness of Starling Marte prevailed, and the baseball was caught at the fence. Cole answered by striking out Crawford in his next two at-bats, and Pittsburgh ended up getting the win on a Marte walk-off. We can only hope this won't spill over to the wedding. (Chris Landers)
November 12, 2016: Cole married Crawford's sister, Amy.
2018: When brothers-in law Brandon Crawford and Gerrit Cole face each other, most recently when the Giants play the Astros. It's fun to talk about, no?
"It's more fun for family, I think, than it is for us," Crawford said. "It doesn't help that he's a really good pitcher—probably one of the best in baseball this year. That doesn't add to the fun of it for me."
Still, it must be strange for Cole to look to home plate and see someone [his wife's brother] so important to him on a personal level, and be tasked with making sure that person has a bad experience at the plate.
Is it weird? "I've been asked that question for like five years now, and I can't really come up with a word that kind of encapsulates," Cole said. "I think it's probably hard for both of us to block out the idea. I root for him, he roots for me and now we're not rooting for each other anymore. Amy [his wife] certainly gets put in a little bit of a predicament as well."
Ah, yes. So what does Amy do when her husband is on the mound, pitching to her brother? "I don't know what she tells him, but she tells me that she roots for me to get a hit but not drive anybody in, and for him to win," Crawford said.
That's pretty much Cole's understanding as well. "She's rooting for the most positive outcome for each of us that doesn't have an effect on the game," Cole said. "She wants us both to do well, but not really at the expense of each other."
During an off-day on May 21, 2018, the Coles and Crawfords planned to spend that evening together in Houston. Thay'll likely stick to less complicated subjects than baseball.
What's important is that while they're not friends on the field, when they're away from the park, they have genuine affection for each other. "He's a consummate professional," Cole said. "A good husband, a great dad. A good example to look up to." (Footer - mlb.com - 5/21/18)
MEETS VIN SCULLY
- Cole grew up in Newport Beach, California. Gerrit grew up as a Yankees fan and in May 2014 got to pitch, and win, in Yankee Stadium. Then, on May 30, Cole got to pitch, and win, in Dodger Stadium.
Childhood dreams rarely pan out so perfectly. When asked what was the best part of his Dodger Stadium experience, however, Cole had a quick response: It was still to come.
"Vin [Scully] calling the game, that's something I'll definitely go and watch and hear what stories he's got on me, then wonder how the heck he got them," said Cole, who, as any Southern Californian baseball fan of the last 57 years, grew up listening to the incomparable redhead.
Told of Cole's homage to him, Scully said, "That's tremendous. How nice of him to say that. You can tell him I told the story about him holding up a sign as an 11-year-old at the 2001 World Series that read, 'Yankees fan today, tomorrow, forever.' "
For Cole, the only thing better than having Scully describe his win would have been a chance to meet the man. But Scully's work this series is getting curtailed by games being broadcast on network TV.
"Maybe next time," Cole said, smiling. "I'll be around here again." (May 30, 2014 - Tom Singer MLB.com)
Gerrit is rarely star-struck. He'd only been nervous before meeting two people: Nolan Ryan and Derek Jeter. He added a third name to that list in August 2016: Vin Scully.
Cole, who grew up watching Dodgers and Angels games in Southern California, stepped into the press-level booth at Dodger Stadium and chatted with Scully, the legendary baseball broadcaster in his 67th and final season on the job.
"I didn't really even know what to say," Cole said. "I had a few questions prepared, but I felt like they were really standard, vanilla questions that everybody asks. Just that voice. You grow up listening to it. When you turned to the Dodgers game, it was the big leagues because Vin was doing it. There was just something about it. Nobody talked. Everybody listened when the TV was on and we were watching the Dodgers game."
Cole spoke with reverence about Scully's style and stories. He was dumbfounded when Scully—a man who narrated Jackie Robinson's story, Kirk Gibson's home run, and countless other historical baseball moments—said he enjoyed watching the "local boy" Cole.
"He was really looking forward to watching me play this series because he remembered me," Cole said. "I was like, 'What the ... come on.'" They had never met. But Scully had been a part of Cole's life long before their meeting. "I feel like I know him, right?" Cole said.
Even today, the California kid still falls asleep listening to the Hall of Famer's Dodgers broadcasts. "I told him that," Cole said. "He was like, 'Yeah, I get it all the time; people used to tell me in the 1950s they'd put the transistor radio underneath their pillow and fall asleep. My contribution to the world is helping cure insomnia.'" (Berry - MLB.com - 8/14/16)
Leadership Role: When Jameson Taillon arrives at the ballpark each day, he looks forward to hearing from Gerrit Cole. It's a form of entertainment, part master class and part guessing game.
One day, Taillon said, Cole will be breaking down his baserunning. The next day, he's focusing on his bunting form. Then it's the shape of his breaking ball, his changeup, how he takes the ball out of his glove, everything down to the way he puts his hand into his glove.
"He's a smart dude. He's very analytical," Taillon said. "He's a thinker. There's always something going on in his brain."
Cole was be counted on to lead a young rotation as the Pirates' Opening Day starter. He's already taken on that role in Pittsburgh's clubhouse, where teammates value his leadership, intensity and attention to detail. (Adam Berry - MLB.com - March 22, 2017)
The nickname "Cole Train." Where did that come from? Shortly after his Major League debut in 2013, Cole was approached by Tom Singer, the Pirates beat reporter for MLB.com from 2012-2015 who passed away suddenly in February 2016.
Singer was the clever mind behind Francisco Rodriguez's ubiquitous "K-Rod" moniker, and he wanted to run a nickname by Cole, the former No. 1 overall pick out of Singer's beloved UCLA. How did Gerrit feel about Cole Train? Cole gave his blessing, and Singer kept writing it until it picked up steam.
COLLEGE TEAMMATES WITH BAUER
May 27, 2018: For the past few weeks, you could see something special "Bruin." When Trevor Bauer used his Twitter account to insinuate—purposely or otherwise—that his former UCLA teammate Gerrit Cole and other Astros pitchers were using pine tar to improve their spin rates, you didn't have to look too deep into the schedule to see the potential for a Bauer vs. Houston or even a Bauer vs. Cole matchup. And because it wasn't exactly a state secret that Bauer and Cole, who have never faced each other, weren't exactly buddy-buddy in their Bruins days, that was a tantalizing proposition.
Finally it arrives: Bauer vs. Cole at 1:10 p.m. ET in the finale of a four-game set at Progressive Field. It is more than just a pairing of pitchers rising to the ranks of the elite on clubs that might be bound for an October affair (although that would be enticing enough). It is a matchup that places national attention on the strained relationship between these former collegiate co-aces and the UCLA program that they once elevated. "They were program changers, both of them," UCLA coach John Savage said. "I know UCLA is very proud of them and excited not only for now, but for their bright future."
Ah, but what of the past? It's all anybody has seemed to want to talk about from the day earlier this week that it became certain that the probable's had properly aligned. Specifically, there was a USA Today story that exaggeratedly claimed the two won't speak about or even look at each other. "I talked to him at the [UCLA] alumni game this year and had a pleasant conversation about arbitration and what he was thinking for his number and my number, and stuff like that," Bauer said. "It was pleasant. I didn't sense any animosity on either end. So, yeah, it's a storyline. I get it. It's fun to write about, because you can play up the controversy and you can get a headline to click on, or whatever."
Cole wasn't as direct in speaking about the relationship between the two, but he noted that this is consecutive starts for him that have a bit of a personal touch, for better or worse. "I had enough to worry about [last start] against the Giants with my brother-in-law [Brandon Crawford] in that game," Cole said. "But obviously, playing the Indians, I'll treat it like any other start or opponent. I'm fortunate to lock up against a fantastic pitcher, so you know you're going to have to be on your game."
Just a week ahead of the draft, Cole and Bauer are reminders that the pitching path, in particular, is not always linear, but elite arms who put in the work, stay healthy and adapt along the way can do big things in the game. Bauer and Cole, who went number 1 and number 3 overall in the draft, publicly express respect toward each other for putting it all together in 2018. That doesn't mean they've become pals. Hardly. After the Twitter flap, the Astros, in general, aren't big fans of Bauer, though Cole addressed that issue as diplomatically as he could. "It would be irresponsible for me to comment on somebody else's opinions," Cole said.
Even when explaining he has "nothing against Gerrit," Bauer brought up an old wound. "We had a rocky relationship in college, because he told me I have no future in baseball, and he insulted my work ethic," Bauer said. "Those are two things I don't take kindly to." One reason this issue draws so much attention is that the game is relatively short on genuine strife between rival players. MLB might have a rule against fraternization between opposing players in uniform, but co-mingling is commonplace during pregame batting practice. So, yeah, there's something kind of fun about a little healthy discord. But how rocky was it, anyway?
"Hate is a strong word, and I don't think it's the right word in this scenario," Savage said. "At the end of the day, they were both Bruins. They respected each other, and the program. They wanted to get to [the College World Series in] Omaha, and they knew they needed each other in many ways. I think they both were motivated by each other."
If that's the case, it worked. Bauer skipped his senior year of high school to enroll early at UCLA. Cole passed up the opportunity to sign with the Yankees for around $4 million as a first-round draft pick to go to school. Together, they pitched for a UCLA program that had struggled to attain traction in the College World Series all the way to the National Championship Series, where they were runners-up in 2010. "Cole was our Friday guy, Bauer was our Saturday guy, and [Adam] Plutko was our Sunday guy," Savage said, "so it was a pretty good chance we were going to win that series each week."
Plutko, who was a freshman when Bauer and Cole were juniors, is now a rookie in the Tribe rotation. As in his early UCLA days, he'll have one of the best seats in the house watching Bauer and Cole do their thing. "They did it in completely different ways," said Plutko, who was on the 2013 UCLA team that won the school's first national championship. "Gerrit was up to 102 mph some games in college, and then Trevor would go out there and punch out 16. And that was the weekend."
Whatever their personal history, Bauer and Cole both agree this is an awesome moment for UCLA baseball and a reminder of what they once accomplished together. "It was a special time," Cole said. "It was historic, and really, we were just really competitive as a team and wanted to take the program to the next level. We were fortunate to do that. [Bauer] was such a special talent that junior year. That curveball, what he did that year, I don't know if it can be replicated. So this is great recognition for the program and for Coach Savage."
Added Bauer: "For the tapestry of our lives, whether we want to be or not, we're intertwined." That'll certainly be true. (A Castrovince - MLB.com - May 27, 2018)
July 2018: Cole was selected to play in the MLB All-Star game.
July 2019: Cole represented the Astros in the All-Star Game.
TOP FREE AGENT
Dec 10, 2019: This time, it was different for the Yankees. Gerrit Cole was that perfect fit that comes along every decade or so. They'd passed on other big names in recent years, including David Price and Max Scherzer. Nothing personal. Sometimes, it was timing; other times, the market.
From the moment general manager Brian Cashman telephoned agent Scott Boras to begin discussions that would result in Cole agreeing to a record-setting nine-year, $324 million deal, he made it clear that Cole was that generational player the Yankees would move heaven and earth to sign.
The Yankees hadn't signed the clear No. 1 free-agent pitcher since giving CC Sabathia a seven-year, $161 million deal on December 10, 2008. Similarities? At the time, Sabathia seemed inclined to return to Southern California until the Yankees gave him the recruiting pitch to end all recruiting pitches. They compelled him to envision what it would be like to play for the most famous and successful sports franchise on earth. They showed him that the Yankees spare no expense. Not just in putting together rosters, but in medical care, player comforts, etc.
And of course, that winning tradition. Sabathia won 19 games and threw 230 innings that first season in New York. In five postseason starts, he had a microscopic 1.98 ERA and helped the Yankees win their 27th World Series title.
During Sabathia's 11 seasons, the Yankees would win more games than any other team in baseball (1,024) and go to the postseason eight times. In Sabathia's first four seasons in New York, he was everything the Yankees hoped for, going 74-29 and averaging 226 innings and 205 strikeouts.
Now with Sabathia having retired after 19 seasons, Cole may have reminded them of the big lefty. Sabathia was 28 when he joined the Yankees, a year younger than Cole is now. In other ways, though, they are similar. Both are ferocious competitors who pride themselves on being at their best when the stakes are the highest and the lights the brightest.
In two seasons with the Astros, Cole was 35-10 with a 2.68 ERA. He averaged 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings and less than one baserunner per inning. He had at least 10 strikeouts in 21 of his 33 starts in 2019, and as MLB.com's Sarah Langs pointed out, the Yankees' single-season record is nine by David Cone in 1998. Cole's 97.1-mph fastball average was the second-highest in the game, and the seven scoreless innings he dealt against the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS helped Houston return to the World Series for the second time in three years.
Astros manager AJ Hinch said removing Cole from any game was among the most difficult things he'd done. He recalled a game in Oakland when he walked to the mound and wanted the baseball, explaining that he liked a certain relief pitcher's breaking pitch against the hitter in the on-deck circle.
"I got this," Cole said.
Hinch returned to the dugout and watched Cole strike out the hitter on a curveball. When Cole stepped into the dugout after the inning, he said something like, "I've got a curveball, too."
Some will question the wisdom of giving a 29-year-old pitcher a nine-year contract. So yes, there's risk. But what the Yankees also just did was put the best pitcher in baseball atop their rotation and position themselves to win their first World Series since 2009.
Cole had said that the No. 1 thing he was seeking in free agency was a chance to win. Yes, he got $324 million. But he's that rare athlete at the pinnacle of his career, and because of that, he could probably have dictated the terms of his deal. When all was said and done, the Yankees convinced him that this was the right place and the right time.
He'd grown up a Yankee fan, but didn't sign with them when they drafted him out of high school in 2008. As an 11-year-old, he attended the 2001 Yankees-D-backs World Series Game 7 in Phoenix and was photographed holding a sign that read, "Yankee Fan Today, Tomorrow, Forever." (R Justice - MLB.com - Dec 10, 2019)
Nov. 10, 2019: Baseball had never before had an official star squad that salutes a full season's worth of work the way other major professional sports do. But the results of the voting for the first All-MLB Team finally arrived at the Winter Meetings. The Astros Cole was named to the first team starting pitching group.
Dec 30, 2019: When the Yankees were internally discussing the astronomical dollar figures that would eventually convince Gerrit Cole to select the pinstripes for 2020 and beyond, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said that he identified the standout pitcher as “a game-changer” who would help the franchise scale the mountain in its pursuit of a 28th World Series championship.
Steinbrenner and the Yankees are convinced that adding Cole to the group that produced 103 regular-season victories will produce a different outcome in October, where the Bombers have had their runs ended by the Astros twice in the past three years. Recent celebratory tweets from New York stars like Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres only serve to underscore how Cole has added to the Yanks’ surging confidence.
“I think there's no doubt we've got an excellent core,” Steinbrenner said. “We didn't make it all the way last year, didn't get the ultimate job done, but we had a great season. There's going to be more to come and, yes, we have an incredible team right here right now. Clearly, I felt that it was time to strike and really get that final big piece that can make a difference.”
What are the expectations for Cole?
The bar will be set extremely high, considering his salary and the fact that Steinbrenner said he expects to win multiple World Series titles during Cole’s time in pinstripes.
On the mound, Cole has few parallels. In 2019, Cole was 20-5 with an AL-leading 2.50 ERA in 33 starts, pacing the Majors with 326 strikeouts in 212 innings. Off the field, Cole has convinced the Yankees that he will be able to handle New York’s bright lights and serve as an important part of their clubhouse mix.
“As excited as I am to be able to hand him the ball every fifth day, I'm equally as excited to see what he brings behind the scenes, adding to what I feel like is a room full of guys that have a lot of championship qualities,” manager Aaron Boone said. (B Hoch - MLB.com - Dec 30, 2019)
Gerrit has to stay loose while waiting for baseball to resume, just like everyone else [during the coronavirus time]. So how does the hard-throwing right-hander do it? He's got a partner to play catch with, and it happens to be his partner in life, too.
Gerrit's wife, Amy, tossed the baseball around with him on March 21, 2020, and it was filmed by manager Aaron Boone; it was clear Gerrit isn't the only one of them with a great arm.
“I had to do something, so I figured I’d film them,” Boone said. The Yankees skipper had paid a visit to his ace righthander’s new home that afternoon. “They’re a pretty athletic duo, going at it there on the front lawn.”
Amy has baseball in the blood. Not only is her husband a star in the Major Leagues, but her brother is Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. Amy also played softball at UCLA, which is where she met Gerrit. Not surprisingly, she was also a pitcher. In 2010, Amy helped the Bruins win the Women's College World Series. (Randhawa - mlb.com - 3/23/2020)
Cole said that his passion for fine wines began at home; his father, Mark, recently became a certified sommelier and his mother, Sharon, would frequently host big Italian dinners each week.
“My parents always had a glass of wine with dinner,” Cole said. “My dad would have my sister [Erin] and I cook with him on the weekends; we'd make some bigger meals. He was always into pairing wines and stuff. When I signed, I built them a wine room off the house and kind of accelerated his passion from there. I think the history of it is really fascinating in the sense that it's just grape juice, and we've been doing it for thousands of years.”
Though Cole classifies it as a hobby, he clearly knows his stuff, rattling off the world’s prestigious wine-making regions like they were names in an opposing lineup. On several occasions during Spring Training, Cole visited a popular wine store about two miles from Steinbrenner Field, relaxing by searching for favored labels and years to add to his collection.
“I've gotten to know a good handful of producers,” Cole said. “As technical as you can get with some of the ways we can grow grapes, especially in the U.S., some of the best wines in the world are still made by the hands of small organic farmers in the middle of Burgundy or in the middle of Bordeaux. It’s always a good topic of conversation. We're always looking for something else to talk about other than just baseball.”
For example, Cole said that he calls upon retired first baseman Justin Morneau for choices from California’s Napa Valley and French wines, adding that Astros pitcher Zack Greinke opened his eyes to Burgundy and pinot noir. The Pirates’ Jameson Taillon has been known to swap recommendations for daily drinkers, and Cole said that Yankees pitcher J.A. Happ expressed interest this spring.
“It’s kind of a community; we all share ideas, and everybody usually asks me what my dad's opinion is, because he's versed in everything,” Cole said.
As Cole continues to uncork fastballs in the front yard of his Connecticut home, waiting for the opportunity to throw his first regular-season pitch in a Yankees uniform, he said that the Yankees’ December gift remains unopened. Amy is pregnant with the couple’s first child, and Cole promised to keep the Masseto sealed until they can savor it together.
“She told me to hold off,” Cole said. “We'll probably open it at some point this year.” (Bryan Hoch - April 15, 2020)
July 31, 2020: A voice very familiar to Yankees fans sang the national anthem before the home opener against the Red Sox.
Suzyn Waldman, the Yankees trailblazing radio color analyst, was behind the microphone in a different capacity. It’s actually not the first time Waldman has performed the national anthem. She’s performed at several previous Yankees home games and at other ballparks around MLB. But this night was different for a couple reasons.
First, she was required to perform from the radio booth since she does not have access to the field due to MLB’s health and safety protocols. Second, the request for Waldman to sing was made by a Yankees player, not the organization, and it was nearly a decade in the making.
That player? Gerrit Cole.
According to NJ.com’s Randy Miller, the request goes back nine years to when Cole was just starting his professional career with the Pirates.
This all was set in motion in 2008 when the Yankees picked Cole in the first round of the draft and his personality impressed Waldman during a media conference call. Cole ended up not signing with the Yanks to attend college, then joined the Pirates organization after being picked first overall as a UCLA junior in 2011. The next spring, Cole was a non-roster invitee to Pirates spring training in Bradenton, Fla., and it was there that he was approached by Waldman prior to a Yankees-Bucs Grapefruit League game.
“You’re going to make a great Yankee when you get to be a free agent,” Waldman told Cole.
A Yankees fan as a kid even though he grew up in Southern California, Cole knew that Waldman had performed on Broadway, so he responded, “If I do, you have to sing the national anthem on Opening Day.”
Though no official promise was made, Cole, who grew up a Yankees fan, made the moment possible when he inked a free-agent deal with the Yankees, just as Waldman had predicted. Cole's request became a reality and Waldman’s performance left those listening in awe.
High school teammates. Once teammates during their respective high school careers, Gerrit Cole and Kyle Higashioka have reunited on baseball’s biggest stage with the Yankees.
“It's been fun to throw to Kyle; I was throwing to Kyle when I was like 13 or 14."
Long before they were granted entry to big league clubhouses, Cole and Higashioka took the field together as members of an Angels scout team in Orange County. Cole attended Orange Lutheran High in Orange, Calif., while Higashioka took classes at nearby Edison High in Huntington Beach, Calif. Cole and Higashioka played together on a squad that also carried an outfielder from Long Beach, Calif., Aaron Hicks.
“We've actually known each other for a while,” Higashioka said. “In the beginning, it was just cool to see a familiar face. I think we have a pretty good understanding of how each other likes to attack the hitters. I think it's just a constant dialogue that helps us be on the same page.”
Spring Training 2021: “Gerrit isn’t one of the best pitchers in baseball just because of his stuff,” his former manager with the Astros, Brad Hinch said. “That’s the easy thing to evaluate. Gerrit is elite because of his mindfulness to every detail. His understanding of the game is extraordinary. The way he challenges himself to prepare is special. He throws every pitch with a purpose and for a reason. He sees everything on the days he pitches and, more importantly, on the days he doesn’t. He pitches with just enough intensity to keep him on the edge, yet doesn’t ever lose his focus.” Then Hinch added this: “I really enjoyed my time with him and learned a lot from him about what it takes to be elite on the mound.” (Lupica - mlb.com - 3/23/2021)
June 2011: The Pirates made Cole the #1 pick in the draft. And they signed him, via scout Rick Allen, on the August 15 deadline, for an $8 million signing bonus. Cole can make more than $9 million in guaranteed money if he reaches the Majors by 2013 (which he did). Cole's deal was a Minor League one, though it is the highest-paying Minor League deal ever handed out.
Jan 13, 2016: Cole and the Pirates avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal for $3.75 million.
January 2017: Gerrit and the Buccos again avoided arbitration, signing another one-year, $3.75 million deal.
Jan 13, 2018: The Pirates dealt Cole to the Astros; acquiring righthander Joe Musgrove, third baseman Colin Moran, reliever Michael Feliz, and outfield prospect Jason Martin.
Feb 14, 2019: By winning his arbitration case against the Astros, pitcher Gerrit Cole stands to make $2 million more this season than if he'd lost. That's a significant victory for Cole, who will double his salary this year and make $13.5 million. And a significant victory for other players to come, the veteran pitcher said.
Oct 31, 2019: Cole chose free agency. turning down the Astros’ $17.8-million qualifying offer for 2020 .
- Dec 11, 2019: Cole and the Yankees agreed to a record-setting nine-year, $324 million contract, The pact includes a full no-trade clause, and establishes new high marks in terms of total contract value for a free-agent starting pitcher and average annual value for any free agent ($36 million per year). Cole can opt out after the fifth year of the deal.)