SUM­MER DREAM

Cole on $324M, 9-year deal with Yan­kees: ‘It was my dream’

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By Ron­ald Blum AP Base­ball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) >> Ger­rit Cole brought along a sign for the news con­fer­ence to an­nounce his sign­ing with the New York Yan­kees: a crin­kled poster board that read “Yan­kee Fan To­day To­mor­row For­ever.”

Then 11, Cole was caught on cam­era hold­ing up that plac­ard in the seats at the 2001 World Se­ries in Phoenix, ei­ther be­fore Game 6 or 7. The let­ter­ing of the tape he used has faded from blue to tan dur­ing years on the wall of his room and then in a closet.

Cole spurned the Yan­kees when they drafted him 28th over­all in 2008, choos­ing to en­roll at UCLA. He signed with Pitts­burgh three years later af­ter he was se­lected first over­all. Now as a free agent, he fi­nally was fit­ted for pin­stripes, agree­ing to a record $324 mil­lion, nine-year con­tract.

“It was my dream. I had a sec­ond op­por­tu­nity to chase it,” he said.

Cole put on a No. 45 jersey, the num­ber that had be­longed to first base­man Luke Voit. The 29-year-old right-han­der’s beard was newly shorn to

com­ply with Yan­kees team rules.

“He cleans up nice, doesn’t he?” Yan­kees man­ager Aaron Boone said.

Cole had been known for a scruffy look. The Yan­kees’ barber went to Cole’s ho­tel room Wed­nes­day morn­ing to ap­ply a shave.

“I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced ra­zor burn now for the first time,” he said.

Among the gifts the Yan­kees used to re­cruit Cole were bot­tles of 2004 and 2005 Mas­seto, a Tus­can wine of Mer­lot grapes. Cole couldn’t fig­ure out how New York knew it was his fa­vorite un­til he remembered he had men­tioned it once to Lou Cu­cuzza Jr., the Yan­kees’ di­rec­tor of club­house op­er­a­tions.

Cole’s deal is the largest for a pitcher in both its to­tal and its av­er­age an­nual value of $36 mil­lion. New York hopes Cole will lead a young corp that in­cludes Aaron Judge, Gary Sánchez and Gley­ber Tor­res to the Yan­kees’ first ti­tle since 2009.

“We need to win some world cham­pi­onships,” owner Hal Stein­bren­ner said. “Plu­ral.”

Boone said he was “blown away” by “his pas­sion for what he does, his abil­ity to ar­tic­u­late that pas­sion.”

New York opened with an eight-year of­fer and went to a ninth season to dif­fer­en­ti­ate the Yan­kees from other per­ceived suit­ors, the Los An­ge­les Dodgers and An­gels. It ap­pears to be the long­est con­tract for a pitcher since Wayne Gar­land’s $2.3 mil­lion, 10year deal with Cleve­land be­fore the 1977 season.

Cole was 20-5 with an AL-lead­ing 2.50 ERA and a ma­jor league-lead­ing 326 strike­outs for Houston last season.

His wife, Amy, the sis­ter of San Fran­cisco short­stop Bran­don Craw­ford, watched the news con­fer­ence from the dais.

New York for­feited its sec­ond- and fifth-high­est draft picks, roughly No. 62 and No. 164 over­all over­all. Houston gets an ex­tra pick as com­pen­sa­tion, ap­prox­i­mately No. 74.

To clear a ros­ter spot, the Yan­kees des­ig­nated righthande­r Chance Adams for as­sign­ment.

“I thought the de­fense played re­ally well too,” Dzikas said. I thought the de­fense did a great job of re­ally rat­tling them, get­ting on shoot­ers, mak­ing them take some tough shots.”

The Broth­ers were just 2-of-7 shoot­ing in the open­ing quar­ter, a 19-5 run by the Plains­men who never looked back.

Shenen­de­howa ju­nior guard An­drew Martin ac­knowl­edged how dif­fi­cult it is to play against the Shenen­de­howa 3-2 zone as well as hav­ing his sec­ond straight stel­lar night from the field, a game-high 18 points.

“I had a chat with coach be­fore our last game and he re­ally helped me with my mind­set com­ing into each game, be­ing bet­ter pre­pared and stuff like that helped a lot,” An­drew Martin said.

That sage ad­vice led to a 27-point out­ing against Al­bany last week and 18 on Tues­day night.

Martin’s points were also the by-prod­uct of the Plains­men’s com­mit­ment to not only shar­ing the ball, but pass­ing it at an un­prece­dented amount with speed and ac­cu­racy.

“In the off-season peo­ple pay $40 an hour to learn how to Euro step and “Make the move,” no one wants to play 40 bucks an hour to pass the ball,” Dzikas said. “We spent a lot of time, off-season pass­ing the ball, mov­ing the ball, dif­fer­ent types of passes

Shenen­de­howa ju­nior An­drew Martin passes the ball to his right, a sta­ple of the Plains­men, dur­ing Tues­day’s Sub­ur­ban Coun­cil show­down in the High School East gym. get right down to the fun­da­men­tals, thumbs down, back­wards spin.

“One thing we would tell the kids that you’re re­ally good shoot­ers but ev­ery great shoot­ing team has one thing in com­mon – they’re a great pas­sage team. It takes a good pass to make for a good shot.”

Of­ten in the cen­ter of the pass-mo­tion of­fense was six-foot three-inch big man, Luke Lav­ery, turn­ing the ball back from near the paint or along the base­line back out to the perime­ter.

“I love how we’re look­ing, we’re re­ally shar­ing the ball and we’re play­ing very well as a team this early on, which is a great sign,” Luke Lav­ery said. “

“It’s great to see be­cause if one guy is miss­ing from the ro­ta­tion or if one team fo­cuses on one guy, it doesn’t re­ally mat­ter be­cause we have four or five more guys that can re­ally put up points.”

Whether on so­cial me­dia courtesy of the Shen Athletic

De­part­ment or in-per­son, the Plains­men make it look easy.

“I mean, we’ve been with each other for years and years, so it’s not just what we’ve been do­ing for this year,” Lav­ery said. “This has been go­ing on for the past like five years. This core has been with each other for a long time, so it just grows and grows as the years go on.”

Lucas Sey­oum dropped in 12 points with Lav­ery fol­low­ing with 11 and Devin Dzikas adding 10 more on the night.

“This was great be­cause it was one of his best games,” Dzikas said about Lav­ery. “It’s great be­cause he’s a good player, he loves play­ing, he’s a gym rat and he’s got some good goals in bas­ket­ball and he re­ally wants to work hard to achieve those.”

Colby Dod­son led the Broth­ers with a team-high 12 points.

SHENEN­DE­HOWA 62, CBA 40 CBA (40) Sko­rup­ski Cole 2-0-6, Tyler Grimes 2-1-5, Robby Hicks 2-0-5, Ha­gen Fo­ley 3-0-8, Colby Dod­son 3-3-12, Jor­dan Hub­bard 1-0-2, Dan Kelly 1-0-2. To­tals: 14-4-40. SHEN (62) An­drew Martin 7-0-18, Luke Lav­ery 5-0-11, Lucas Sey­oum 5-0-12, Devin Dzikas 2-4-10, Ma­son Court­ney 1-0-3, Jake Reinisch 2-1-5, Will Shea 1-0-3, CBA515128–40 SHEN 19 19 11 13 – 62 Three-point­ers: CBA – Cole 2, Hicks, Fo­ley 2, Dod­son 3. SHEN – 4, Lav­ery, Sey­oum, Dzikas 2, Court­ney, Shea.

MARK LEN­NI­HAN - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

New York Yan­kees man­ager Aaron Boone, left, and pitcher Ger­rit Cole hold up a jersey as Cole is in­tro­duced as the base­ball club’s new­est player dur­ing a me­dia avail­abil­ity, Wed­nes­day, Dec. 18, 2019 in New York. The pitcher agreed to a 9-year, $324 mil­lion con­tract.

MARK LEN­NI­HAN - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ger­rit Cole is in­tro­duced as the new­est New York Yan­kees player dur­ing a base­ball me­dia avail­abil­ity, Wed­nes­day, Dec. 18, 2019 in New York. The pitcher agreed to a 9-year $324 mil­lion con­tract.

STAN HUDY/THE SARATO­GIAN

MARK LEN­NI­HAN - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Video screens dis­play a re­cent photo of Ger­rit Cole be­fore he is in­tro­duced as the new­est New York Yan­kees player dur­ing a base­ball me­dia avail­abil­ity, Wed­nes­day, Dec. 18, 2019 in New York. The pitcher agreed to a 9-year, $324 mil­lion con­tract.

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