Yankees, All-Star pitcher Cole ink $324 million deal over nine seasons

Gerrit Cole
All-Star pitcher Gerrit Cole led the American League with a 2.50 ERA and led Major League Baseball with 326 strikeouts while pitching for the Houston Astros in 2019. (Trask Smith/UPI photo)

NEW YORK (UPI) — All-Star free agent pitcher Gerrit Cole is set to join the New York Yankees with a record-setting $324 million contract.

MLB.com, ESPN and The Athletic reported the nine-year pact includes a full no-trade clause and sets new records for total contract value for a free agent pitcher and average annual value for any free agent, at $36 million per season. The $324 million pact eclipsed the seven-year, $245 million contract Stephen Strasburg signed Monday with the Washington Nationals.

The Yankees originally selected Cole out of high school with the No. 28 overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft, before he opted to attend UCLA. Cole was picked No. 1 overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2011 MLB Draft and made his league debut in 2013.

Cole, 29, was 20-5 last season with an American League-best 2.50 ERA and league-best 326 strikeouts in 33 starts for the Houston Astros. He owns a 94-52 record with a 3.22 ERA in 192 career appearances. He made $13.5 million last season with the Astros.

Cole was the runner up to teammate Justin Verlander for the 2019 American League Cy Young Award. He set a record by winning his last 16 regular-season decisions and broke the Astros franchise record for strikeouts in a single season.

Cole was also linked in free agency to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels, in addition to two mystery teams.

Reporting by Alex Butler

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