Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
Yankees fans everywhere have probably had a similar vision running through their minds for the past six months: Gerrit Cole on the mound in a pivotal October contest, pitching for a shot at New York’s 28th championship.
Cole himself might even have dreamed something along those lines.
The 2020 MLB season has yet to commence, though, with the coronavirus pandemic halting the start of play and an ongoing battle between the owners and players about how to resume. But that will not stop Cole from trying to realize a childhood fantasy.
New York’s most expensive free-agent signing ever has been throwing on the bump at Yankee Stadium. No, really. Cole has posted numerous photos and videos of himself on the mound, and it appears he worked out with Yankees reliever Adam Ottovino.
Cole posted an Instagram video of himself throwing a bullpen session in Yankee Stadium to the tune of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind” earlier this week. Of course, throwing in the bullpen does not generate quite the same feeling as taking the hill.
The 29-year-old was the hottest free agent in baseball this past season after a dominant 2019. Cole went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA in his second season with the Houston Astros. He led the majors in strikeouts (326) and ERA (185), and he also had a dominant postseason.
As a result, Cole signed a nine-year, $324 million contract with the Yankees, the largest amount of guaranteed money for any pitcher in MLB history.
Cole had a number of suitors, but there was a certain romanticism tied to his decision to go to the Bronx. This was the same player who, even as a kid, deemed himself a Yankee fan “forever.” Moreover, the Yankees seemed to be missing the kind of ace who could put them over the top in their pursuit of a World Series. Cole looked like the missing piece to the puzzle.
Of course, there is still plenty of uncertainty regarding the state of the 2020 season. But Cole is not waiting any longer to experience the feeling of pitching at Yankee Stadium.
Astros add Another Correa
The Astros are still hoping shortstop Carlos Correa can fulfill his superstar potential over the course of a full season. In the meantime, another Correa is joining the organization.
J.C. began his collegiate career at Alvin Community College in Texas, but he eventually transferred to Lamar University in Beaumont, where he showed immense promise.
As a 20-year-old, the younger Correa hit 10 home runs and had a .910 OPS in 53 games. J.C. struggled at the start of the 2020 campaign, slashing just .245/.317/.321 through 14 games.
But the Astros appear to be sold on J.C.’s potential and positional versatility. Perhaps the young infielder can join his older brother in the bigs someday.
All stats obtained via Baseball Reference, unless otherwise noted.