In the final minutes of Tuesday night, the Yankees broke the bank and landed Gerrit Cole, arguably the best pitcher in baseball, on a massive nine-year deal worth $324 million.
Cole joins a Yankees team that won 103 games in 2019 and 100 games the season before, and now could be the final piece to push the Yankees back to their first World Series title since 2009.
"It's been a long time since they made a move like this, and I really didn't think they'd go to nine years but obviously they wanted this guy badly," said SNY's John Harper. "If you're going to go after anybody, this is the guy. He seems to be still ascending. He's getting better and better. He went to the Astros and changed some things and now he's basically the best pitcher in the game, most strikeouts and all that.
"That and the fact the Yankees haven't won in 10 years, I think that combination put pressure on Hal Steinbrenner to say enough is enough with the budget and all that. … The bottom line is they got their guy. This is what they've been missing, the big piece they've been missing. You would think they're set up now more than ever to win a championship."
Cole's deal, which reportedly contains no differed money, is the richest contract by any pitcher in baseball history, topping Stephen Strasburg's new $245 million deal.
According to Harper, if Cole leads the Yankees to a title -or two - it's all worth it.
"With the Yankees, it's all about championships," said Harper. "So, if they're going to talk about championships the way they do, they're all about that, this guy should help you. He's the last piece in the puzzle, so to speak. If he helps you win one or two championships, he's worth it no matter what the cost is."
So should the Yankees be the overwhelming favorite to win the title in 2020?
"They have to be (the favorite to win the World Series). … If they get (Luis) Severino back, this rotation was going to be okay as it was with (Masahiro) Tanaka, Severino, and (James) Paxton, so you add Cole on top and this is a dominant rotation. We know about their bullpen. We'll see what they do if they bring (Dellin) Betances back or not, and they're loaded position-wise. They lost Didi (Gregorius), but still they've got probably the best offense in baseball or close to that.
"Everything is in place now. This is really the only piece that was missing."