With today’s signing of Stephen Strasburg for 7 years $245 million, which already shattered the record for annual salary for a pitcher, many people believe that Gerrit Cole is going to receive an offer that far surpasses that already massive deal for Strasburg.
While I myself am a Yankee fan, and believe that in order for them to win a World Series, they definitely are going to have to address their starting pitching (or lack thereof); I believe that it would be a grave mistake and it would be irresponsible for the Yankees to pay Cole what he is going to request.
Let’s assess the other top 5 largest pitching contracts:
David Price (7 years, $217 million) – The Red Sox definitely regret this decision. David ended up winning 1 championship, in which he wasn’t even the most dominant pitcher on there roster during the championship run. I guarantee you that the Sox don’t think this was a good deal in hindsight.
Clayton Kershaw (7 years, $215 million) – While many would disagree with me, this deal would not be considered a positive for the Dodgers. Yes, I understand that Clayton has been a dominant pitcher, with Cy Young awards.
But, the fact of the matter is, he HAS NEVER WON A WORLD SERIES. For the Yankees and their fans, these individual awards would mean nothing if the team did not win a single championship.
Max Scherzer (7 years, $210 million) – This is the only deal of these top 5 that I would agree with as good deal for the Nationals. This is because in addition to being one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball virtually every year, he won a championship. In New York for the Yankees, it all boils down to winning, not individual accomplishments.
Zack Greinke (6 years, $206.5 million) – This deal was absolutely horrendous for the Diamondbacks. While with the Arizona team, Greinke was certainly not considered an elite pitcher. Only last year did he have any success and they ended up having to trade him away because they could not stand the atrocity that was his contract. Also, he did not give Arizona any championships.
Justin Verlander (6 years, $180 million) – This deal is a little bit tricky to assess because of his dominance with Houston, but he did not bring any championships to Detroit, which in New York with the Yankees would not be acceptable.
It is clear that paying pitchers absurd contracts should not be in the interest of the team.
In almost every single circumstance, these deals are regretted by teams. Even if the pitchers achieve large individual accomplishments such as Kershaw; for Yankee fans, the only thing that is counted in the amount of championships won. It would be in the Yankees’ best interest to allocate the money that it would require to sign Cole to signing multiple players or pitchers to further their chances at winning a world series.
This comes in addition to the fact that the Yankees have been burned on large contracts before. We are still recovering from the atrocity that was the Jacoby Ellsbury contract. This deal set the team back for years. If the Yankees did not sign this deal and they spent the money elsewhere, they could have signed a combination of Jose Abreu, John Lester, and Nelson Cruz (all of which were All-Stars) with 64 million dollars to spare.
Also, the CC Sabathia deal wasn’t all that great either. CC only brought the team one championship and greatly struggled towards the end of his contract. Just think of all of the possibilities for the Yankees if they had not spent that much money on those two players.
Teams all around baseball are recovering from poor decisions they made with regards to overpaying pitchers and I warn the Yankees that they may end up regretting this deal for Gerrit Cole if it is completed.