<
>
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
Get ESPN+

Yankees get their man in Gerrit Cole -- but 9 years is a looong time

play
Kurkjian: Cole to Yankees makes them the best team in baseball (0:44)

Tim Kurkjian says the Yankees' acquisition of Gerrit Cole makes them not only the best team in the American League but also the best team in baseball. (0:44)

SAN DIEGO -- Gerrit Cole was the top free-agent starter this winter, courted by multiple large-market contenders, but I don't think anyone forecast a record-setting, nine-year, $324 million contract, the longest deal and the highest average annual value ever given to a pitcher. Cole is a clear No. 1 starter for anyone, and the New York Yankees don't have an incumbent in that role, so he fits them perfectly, making them stronger favorites to win the American League East in 2020 and marginally improving their odds of playoff success as well. But, whoa boy, did you hear about the nine years?