Bob Nightengale Puts Cole Deal In (Pirates) Perspective

Pittsburgh fans might not want to read this

December 13, 2019 - 10:28 am
Gerrit Cole Pirates

USA Today Images


Gerrit Cole signed a record nine-year $324 million deal with the New York Yankees this week, a deal that left many Pittsburgh Pirates fans, including CBS Sports Radio host Scott Ferrall, in disbelief. After all, the Pirates drafted Cole in 2011, and Cole spent the first five years of his career in Pittsburgh, where he was an All-Star.

Well, USA Today MLB writer Bob Nightengale put Cole’s contract in context from a Pirates perspective.

“Gerrit Cole is being paid more than the Pittsburgh Pirates have paid free agents in the last 25 years combined,” Nightengale said on Ferrall on the Bench. “If somebody had offered (Cole) $400 million, the Yankees would have come (in at) $401 million. They wanted this guy bad.”

And they got him.

But will Cole, 29, return value on the contract? Nightengale says yes.

“Oh yeah, if you look at Max Scherzer, that contract was a steal,” he said. “He signed for $210 million; he’s probably been worth $500-, $600 million. Jon Lester has been worth every single penny for the Cubs. So yeah, this guy has been unbelievable. He really stepped up his game in Houston the last two years.”

Cole won his final 16 regular-season decisions with Houston last year and led the AL with a 2.50 ERA. His career-high 326 strikeouts were the most in the majors.

“He’s pitched in the American League,” Nightengale said. “If he had only been a National League pitcher, you kind of wonder because there’s such a big difference between the two leagues. But I think this guy loves the spotlight, he loves the big stage, and I think we’re gong to see what he’s going to do. Remember: (the Astros) knocked out the Yankees two of the last three years.”