Gerrit Cole was offered a 9-year contract worth $324 million by the New York Yankees. Cole chose to accept that offer instead of the 8-year, $300 million offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers and another 8-year deal worth a little less than $300 million from the Los Angeles Angels. It seems pretty obvious why Cole picked the Yankees, but that doesn't mean the media isn't happy to run with anecdotal stories as if there's some reason besides money that Cole really chose New York.
First, we have the Lifelong Yankees Fan narrative.
There's also the analytics department. Cole really loves his analytics. And the personal connections. Andy Pettitte and Hal Steinbrenner were very important to Cole! One, a childhood hero, the other, a man with a giant checkbook.
Via The New York Post:
Boras told Jack Curry of the YES Network that Cole spoke to the Yankees owner five times, and hearing about Pettitte’s own experiences in New York left an impression on the 29-year-old right-hander. Pettitte was part of the Yankees contingent that flew to California to meet with Cole before the MLB Winter Meetings.
Since Cole's press conference yesterday, some new reasons have emerged. Like the fact that the Yankees bought him some wine he really liked. Via CBS Sports:
I always come into Lou's office when I got nothing to do and I kick my feet up on the table, and we just talk about stuff. We were talking about my trip to Italy with my wife the other year, and he always likes to know what I'm cooking because I like to cook at my house. I showed him pictures of a meal that we ate in a cellar in Florence and there's a picture of a bottle of Masseto. He asked me what the bottle was and I said, 'It's Masseto, it's probably acknowledged as the second best red wine in the world.'
Aaron brought a couple bottles of it and one of the vintages they brought was one of the exact same vintage from the anniversary dinner that my wife and I had in Florence. I was a little bit back on my heels. I remember trying to stay focused on the meeting and not thinking about booze the entire time, but I still couldn't figure it out.- Gerrit Cole
And best of all, also via the New York Post:
The Yankees provided Cole one of their favorite toys: a 30-pound-ish contraption shaped like home plate with a giant interlocking 'NY' that when opened reveals a facsimile of Yankee Stadium, with an iPad in the middle that contains pretty much every question you would have about the franchise — from breakdowns of all 27 championship teams to where to live and have your kids go to school, etc. Again, Cole and his wife were impressed.- New York Post
Rest assured, if the Angels or Dodgers had offered more money, we'd be hearing about the hometown connections or about some special relationship he has with whatever clubhouse attendant in L.A. If the Astros had offered him $400 million, we'd be hearing how quickly his family warmed to the city and about their favorite restaurants. If the Marlins had swooped in with a half a billion dollars, there would be a making of video showing how the home run sculpture opens up to reveal a Zune that tells you the weather every morning and Cole gets to take it home with him if he wants.
All these stories are being told to make Cole either seem more or less human. He didn't just pick money! He has feelings and makes connections with people. He appreciates a nice gesture. And like every single story about the reason that Cole didn't actually sign with the Yankees, this post will end with a line about how $324,000,000 didn't hurt either.