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The deal includes an opt-out after five years, according to Passan, and it also has a full no-trade clause, sources told ESPN. It surpasses the deal Stephen Strasburg finalized with the Washington Nationals on Monday for most total money and annual average salary for a pitcher, at $36 million.
The hard-throwing right-hander set an Astros record by winning his last 16 regular-season decisions and topped the AL with a career-best 2.50 ERA. His career-high 326 strikeouts were the most in the majors and broke an Astros franchise record that had stood since 1979, when J.R. Richard fanned 313.
Cole had only one loss after May 22. That came in Game 1 of the World Series against the Nationals, but he redeemed himself with a stellar outing in Game 5. In the postseason, Cole went 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA in 36⅔ innings.
Cole grew up a Yankees fan and attended several games at the old Yankee Stadium. He said before Game 3 of the ALCS that his favorite players were Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman visited Cole and his wife, Amy, in California last week, bringing along manager Aaron Boone, new pitching coach Matt Blake and special adviser Andy Pettitte.
Team owner Hal Steinbrenner was directly involved in some of the talks, speaking with Cole's agent, Scott Boras, by phone, and it was his decision to push the offer from an eighth year to a ninth year, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney. The Los Angeles Dodgers were heavily involved, and were perceived by some executives to be the second-place finisher. The Los Angeles Angels' offer may have fallen short of the $300 million threshold.
Passan reported last week that signing Cole was the Yankees' top offseason priority and that Cashman had ownership-level approval to offer a record-setting deal.
"I think we all understand we have a special team that's hopefully in the middle of a chance to do some great things," Boone said from the winter meetings. "Any time you're talking about a player the caliber of Gerrit Cole, and knowing what he can potentially mean to our club, it's no surprise that we are as invested as we are in pursuing him."
New York has not won the World Series since 2009 and sought an ace to head a rotation that includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, J.A. Happ and Domingo German, who might be suspended at the season's start under baseball's domestic violence policy.
Cashman executed the move out of the same playbook he used after the 2008 season, when he gave CC Sabathia a $161 million, seven-year deal to lead a staff and establish a clubhouse presence.
Cole will join a Yankees team with a young core of hitters that includes Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez, entering a window in which New York thinks it can compete consistently for championships.
Cole was drafted by the Yankees out of high school with the 28th pick in the first round in 2008, but he chose to go to UCLA. Then he was drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates three years later. He finished fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2015 and earned the first of his three All-Star selections that season, but he was less effective in his other four seasons in Pittsburgh.
After five seasons with the Pirates, Cole was traded to the Astros in January 2018 in exchange for pitchers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz, third baseman Colin Moran and outfielder Jason Martin. In his two seasons with Houston, armed with a revitalized four-seam fastball and improved mechanics in which he left fewer pitches out of the strike zone, Cole went 35-10 with a 2.68 ERA and 602 strikeouts -- good for 12.1 WAR.
FanGraphs' pitch values had Cole's fastball as the most valuable in the majors last season, and his slider was in the top 10.
Despite Cole's natural talent, Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch said during the postseason that the pitcher's "biggest strength is his mind."
Cole finished fifth in AL Cy Young voting in 2018. In his seven MLB seasons, he has a 94-52 record with a 3.22 ERA and 1,336 strikeouts in 1,195 innings. His ratio of 10.062 strikeouts per nine innings ranks sixth among active players and eighth all time.
ESPN's Marly Rivera and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
They got to the park too late to see his three-run homer in the first inning.
So Bogaerts hit another -- a solo shot in the eighth to give the Red Sox a 19-3 lead and seal a historic pounding of their longtime rivals.
"The last at-bat, I saw my mom there and I was like, 'I'm going to try,'" said Bogaerts, who also had his uncle and little league coaches in the stands. "I was happy I did. It will just be special having them here ... and having them enjoy watching me play and doing productive stuff for the team."
Bogaerts, born in Aruba, had four hits in all Thursday night as the Red Sox erupted for their biggest victory over the Yankees in the 117-year history of the rivalry.
Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. had three hits apiece; Bradley, Michael Chavis and J.D. Martinez each had two of Boston's 10 doubles. Eight players had at least two RBIs for Boston, tying a major league record.
The Red Sox have won three of their first four in a stretch of 14 consecutive games against the Yankees and Tampa Bay, the two teams ahead of them in the division. But they remain 10 games behind New York, a half-game behind the Rays and one game behind Oakland in the race for the second AL wild card.
"It's a good time for everyone to be contributing," Bogaerts said. "If we keep it up for two months I think we'll be in very good shape, but it's hard to do."
In the worst start by a Yankees pitcher against the Red Sox, Masahiro Tanaka (7-6) allowed 12 runs on 12 hits and three walks in 3⅓ innings. It was the second-most earned runs ever allowed by a Yankees pitcher -- Carl Mays gave up 13 in a complete game against Cleveland in 1923.
Rick Porcello (9-7) had his problems, giving back two runs in the second after being spotted a 7-0 lead. Kyle Higashioka added a solo homer in the fifth to make it 12-3. But the Red Sox right-hander managed to finish six innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out five and walking one.
Boston has scored double-digit runs in each of Porcello's past five outings; he's the first major league pitcher to get that much support since 1896. He is 4-1 in his past six starts despite giving up 30 runs in 29 innings.
"It's been absolutely incredible," Porcello said. "It seems like the last three or four games I pitched we put up damn near 20 runs. Run support is huge. And when we're scoring like this, you do the best you can not to screw it up."
Tanaka allowed three singles to load the bases and, with two out, Bradley and Betts hit consecutive two-run doubles to make it 7-0. Devers homered leading off the five-run fourth, when Boston chased Tanaka.
Yankees starters have allowed 40 runs over their past five games, something they hadn't done since 1912.
"It's been each guy this time through," manager Aaron Boone said. "So, it's been one hiccup for every one of the guys that's come in succession. Makes it difficult, but we've just got to dig in and see where we can make little improvements and expect that the next time out each guy will be sharper."
Stephen Tarpley wasn't much better, giving up three runs in the fifth and another in the sixth. Sandy Leon hit a two-run homer in the eighth, then Bogarts followed with his second of the night; this one failed to reach Lansdowne Street only because it clipped the billboard above the Monster.
Devers leads the majors with 31 RBIs in July and is the youngest Red Sox player with a 30-RBI month since Ted Williams in August 1939. ... The Red Sox have scored eight or more runs in four consecutive games against the Yankees for the first time since 1912, the year Fenway Park opened. ... The previous team with eight players with two or more RBIs was the Texas Rangers in a 30-3 victory over Baltimore in 2007. ... The Orioles scored 10 runs or more in five straight starts for Bill Hoffer in 1896.
ON THE FARM
Yankees prospect Deivi Garcia made his third start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as he bids for a big league call-up. The 20-year-old right-hander entered the game with 124 strikeouts in 76⅔ innings.
Yankees: OF Brett Gardner was placed on 10-day injured list with left knee inflammation, retroactive to Monday. ... Tarpley was recalled from Triple-A for the game and sent back afterward. ... OF Cameron Maybin (left calf strain) made a rehab appearance in Triple-A and went 4-for-5 with a homer and a double. Boone said Maybin is expected to play nine innings in the field Friday.
Yankees: LHP James Paxton (5-5), who pitched eight innings of two-hit ball against Boston on April 16, striking out 12.
Red Sox: RHP Andrew Cashner (9-5) tries to earn his first victory with Boston since he was acquired from Baltimore in a trade. He's 2-5 with a 3.96 ERA in 10 starts against the Yankees.
Some of the numbers are ridiculous in this season of the home run. Consider these statistics heading into Monday's action:
• Christian Yelich is on pace for 60 home runs, but that actually undersells his remarkable performance. Because he missed a few games, he is on pace for just 147 games played. If he homers at the same rate for the rest of the season and plays every game, he will become just the sixth player to hit 60 home runs -- and the first since Roger Maris in 1961 not named Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa. Not possible? Well, consider that over his past 160 games, Yelich has hit .344/.429/.707 with 56 home runs. He has been slugging at this level for a year now.
• Entering Monday, 22 players had at least 19 home runs, a 40-homer pace. If 22 players do get to 40, that would break the single-season record of 17 players from 1996. Only three players hit 40 last season. The home run leaderboard is full of surprising names such as Hunter Renfroe (23), Jorge Soler (21), Ketel Marte (20), Josh Bell (20), Max Kepler (19), Derek Dietrich (18) and Daniel Vogelbach (18).
• Rookie Pete Alonso is second to Yelich with his 27 home runs, so he has a chance to challenge Aaron Judge's rookie record of 52 and seems like a lock to break Cody Bellinger's National League record of 39.
Of course, this means somebody is serving up all those home runs. Consider the horror side of the story:
• Drew Smyly of the Texas Rangers, trying to come back from Tommy John surgery, picked the wrong year for a comeback. He served up 19 home runs in 51⅓ innings before his release last week. Jerad Eickhoff of the Philadelphia Phillies isn't far behind, serving up 18 home runs in 58⅓ innings, before landing on the injured list with biceps homeritis.
• Smyly's rate of 3.33 home runs per nine innings is the worst ever for a minimum of 50 innings. Eickhoff is seventh worst. David Hess is ninth worst. But consider some of the pitchers with fewer innings: Alex Cobb has allowed nine home runs in 12⅓ innings; Edwin Jackson, 12 in 25⅓; and Dan Straily, 22 in 47⅔. Drew Steckenrider allowed nine hits in 14⅓ innings -- six of them home runs. Eleven pitchers with at least 10 innings have a higher home run rate than Smyly.
So, home runs -- a record-setting number of them, on pace for 1,000 more home runs than last season and 500 more than previous record set in 2017 -- have been the big story of the first half. Because this is baseball, critics have met this onslaught of power with a considerable degree of "get off my lawn" commentary. Back in 2014, everyone was complaining that nobody could hit anymore. Now everyone is complaining that there are too many home runs.
Compare that criticism to what has happened in the NBA, where the number of 3-point shot attempts have increased by more than 50% in just six seasons, from 20 per game in 2013 to 32 per game this past season. It seems the fans and those who cover the league have mostly embraced this trend -- in part, because teams that made more 3-pointers went 51-27 in this year's playoffs. Teams that make more 3-pointers usually win. Teams that hit more home runs usually win. This is the game as played in 2019.
Keep in mind that the overall runs scored per game remain within historical norms at 4.78 per game (the highest since 4.80 in 2007). Yes, all the home runs are mixed in with more strikeouts, fewer singles and fewer stolen bases, and this decline of non-home run action in the game is a reasonable issue to debate. At the same time, whenever I go to a game and the home team hits a home run, the fans all rise and cheer. Home runs aren't all evil (unless you're an Orioles fan).
Here are nine other big themes as we hit the halfway mark (all stats through Sunday):
As Nationals fans will attest, bullpens are historically bad. The Nationals have a 6.29 bullpen ERA, and the woeful Orioles are at 6.34. No modern bullpen has finished with an ERA above 6.00, and now we might see two teams do it in the same season. But it's not just bullpens in the mid-Atlantic region that are struggling. Relievers have a 4.50 ERA, while starters have a 4.44 ERA -- which would be the first season since 1969 that relievers have a worse ERA than starters.
One theory is that as managers demand more from relievers and less from starters, bullpens are getting stretched too thin. For most of the 2000s, the spread between starters' ERA and relievers' ERA hovered between 0.25 runs all the way up to 0.52 in 2012. That season, starters had 4.19 ERA, while relievers were at 3.67.
That also was when we started seeing a high uptick in relievers with high-octane velocity. I think part of this year's bullpen equation is that batters have become better at hitting high-velocity fastballs -- and that's going to affect relievers more than starters, since most relievers don't have the deep repertoire of pitches that starters have. This year, in fact, batters are hitting better against pitches of 95-plus mph than they are overall. Back in 2012, their weighted on-base average (wOBA) was 19 points worse against 95-plus:
2019: .248/.333/.409, .321 wOBA (.319 overall)
2018: .241/.324/.377, .309 wOBA (.315 overall)
2017: .245/.329/.394, .315 wOBA (.321 overall)
2016: .247/.322/.381, .309 wOBA (.318 overall)
2015: .242/.315/.370, .303 wOBA (.313 overall)
2014: .235/.307/.336, .291 wOBA (.310 overall)
2013: .240/.310/.354, .297 wOBA (.314 overall)
2012: .233/.311/.352, .296 wOBA (.315 overall)
The Los Angeles Dodgers begin the week with a 54-25 record, a 110-win pace (or 111, if you prefer to round up). That's not quite a record-breaking pace like they were on a couple of years ago, until they lost 16 of 17 late in the season; but this year's team might be even more impressive, given the overall depth of the National League.
Consider that in 2017, six NL teams lost 90-plus games, including the Giants (98) and Padres (91) in the NL West. This year, only the Marlins and Giants are on a 90-loss pace. Putting together this kind of record against a balanced league is a testament to the dominance of the 2019 Dodgers.
Here are the best records after 79 games over the past 10 seasons:
2018: Yankees, 53-26 (finished 100-62, lost in American League Division Series)
2017: Astros, 53-26 (finished 101-61, won World Series)
2016: Cubs/Rangers, 51-28 (Cubs finished 103-58 and won World Series; Rangers finished 95-67 and lost in ALDS)
2015: Cardinals, 51-28 (finished 100-62, lost in NL Division Series)
2014: Athletics, 49-30 (finished 88-74, lost wild-card game)
2013: Pirates, 49-30 (finished 94-68, lost in NLDS)
2012: Rangers, 50-29 (finished 93-69, lost wild-card game)
2011: Phillies, 49-30 (finished 102-60, lost in NLDS)
2010: Yankees, 48-31 (finished 95-67, lost in AL Championship Series)
2009: Dodgers, 50-29 (finished 95-67, lost in NL Championship Series)
So, 10 of the 11 teams played worse after their hot first half, although all 11 reached the playoffs. Barring a surreal turn of events, the Dodgers are going to win their seventh consecutive division title. And I predict they will break the L.A. franchise mark of 104 wins by the 2017 team -- and maybe even get to 110 wins. This team is that good -- even with a mediocre bullpen that ranks 11th in the majors in ERA and 24th in win probability added. With a better pen, we'd be looking at one of the best teams of all time.
The Dodgers are so dominant in large part because of their new ace. Hyun-Jin Ryu's stat line in this year of the long ball is like that pack of baseball cards in a Christmas stocking otherwise filled with coal: 9-1, 1.27 ERA, only six walks and seven home runs in 99 innings.
He has given up just one home run over his past 10 starts, a span of 71⅔ innings. He has allowed more than two runs just once all season and that came in his last start, and two of those were unearned. Since the mound was lowered in 1969, only 10 pitchers have finished with a first-half ERA below 1.50 with a minimum of 75 innings (and three of those guys were relievers). Not that anyone should expect him to maintain a 1.27 ERA, but Ryu's adjusted ERA+ (for park and league environment) of 335 would shatter the single-season record and top Pedro Martinez's modern mark of 291 in 2000 (when he had a 1.74 ERA versus a league ERA of 4.91). It has been a half-season for the ages.
The NL leads interleague play 76-57 (again, through Sunday), which is one way to explain how bad the AL has been. But what we really mean is the Blue Jays, Orioles, Tigers, Royals and Mariners. I thought it would be hard to top 2018, when three AL teams lost 100 games, but look at the projected win-loss record of those five teams based on their current win percentage:
Orioles: 45-117 (two games worse than last season)
Blue Jays: 60-102
The Mariners aren't on pace to lose 100, but they're trending in that direction, going 23-45 after that 13-2 start. Maybe they don't all get to 100 losses. FanGraphs projects only the Orioles losing 100 games. But the bottom line? A third of the AL is playing unwatchable baseball right now.
The Yankees have benefited from the awful AL, surging past Tampa Bay into the AL East lead, even though they seemed to be playing their B team for much of the first half. Through their first 77 games, consider the games missed from this Yankees group: Giancarlo Stanton 70, Miguel Andujar 65, Didi Gregorius 64, Aaron Judge 54, Aaron Hicks 47. That is 300 missed games, or about two full seasons' worth of games from five players who combined for 146 home runs a year ago.
Others stepped up, however, most notably Luke Voit, Gio Urshela and Cameron Maybin. While the Yankees have cleaned up against the Orioles (10-2), they also played well against the Rays (7-2) and Red Sox (4-1). The schedule gets a little tougher over the next several weeks, however, including 10 games against the Red Sox through Aug. 4 and eight against the Rays.
OK, it has always mattered, but this is a reminder that even though the average strikeouts per game are up to 8.71, that still means a team has to get about 18 to 19 outs per game with its defense. The top five teams in defensive runs saved:
Four of those teams would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, and the Diamondbacks have remained competitive despite losing three of their best players from 2018. On the other end of the list are the Mariners (minus-72), Orioles (minus-56), Mets (minus-55), Nationals (minus-30) and Tigers (minus-29). The Mariners, Orioles and Tigers weren't going to be good even with decent defense, but the Mets and Nationals certainly have been hurt at times by their defense.
All offseason, everyone whined about the lack of action on the free-agent market. Some went further than complaining. Well, here are how the top 10 free agents in total dollars have fared:
• Bryce Harper ($330 million): 35th among NL position players in FanGraphs WAR
• Manny Machado ($300 million): Trending up, but still just 21st among NL position players
• Patrick Corbin ($140 million): Hot start, but has struggled of late and is 6-5, 3.90 ERA
• Nathan Eovaldi ($67.5 million): Injured, made just four starts
• A.J. Pollock ($60 million): Injured, hit .223 in 28 games
• Andrew McCutchen ($50 million): Out for season with torn ACL
• Yusei Kikuchi ($43 million): 4-5, 5.11 ERA, including 9.00 ERA past six starts
• Zack Britton ($39 million): 2-1, 2.51, 25 SO, 18 BB, 22 H in 32⅓ IP
• J.A. Happ ($34 million): 7-4, 5.23 ERA, 19 HR in 84.1 IP
• Michael Brantley ($32 million): .322/.382/.512, 11 HR, 43 RBIs
So far, the only clear "win" for the teams has been Brantley. McCutchen was playing well before his unfortunate injury, and Britton has been reliable despite the high walk rate. Still, as a group, these 10 have been much worse than those from last season's group. And we wonder why front offices are so reluctant to pay out big money now in free agency?
Last year, the NL gave us Ronald Acuna Jr., Juan Soto, Walker Buehler and Jack Flaherty, among others. Somehow, the NL has come up with another impressive group of rookies: Pete Alonso and Fernando Tatis Jr. lead the way, but we also have starting pitchers Mike Soroka and Chris Paddack, plus Austin Riley, Alex Verdugo, Nick Senzel, Bryan Reynolds, Victor Robles and Keston Hiura (call him back up, Milwaukee!). It's hard to match the Acuna-Soto-Buehler trio, but this year's group might have even more depth. The game is trending younger with good reason: The kids can play.
The New York Yankees wasted no time breaking the major league record for consecutive games with a home run.
DJ LeMahieu's leadoff homer off Toronto's Clayton Richard in the bottom of the first inning of Tuesday night's game in New York gave them home runs in 28 straight games, breaking the record set by the 2002 Texas Rangers.
"I've heard the players comment on it, and they're very aware of it," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the game. "It's impressive to me. It's a tribute to having a lot of really good hitters and guys that could hit for power."
During this streak, 14 Yankees have combined to hit 51 home runs. Aaron Judge got his first of the streak right after LeMahieu. It was the first home run since April 20 for Judge, who returned Friday from an oblique injury that sidelined him for two months.
"I was just trying to do what he did. He's been our MVP,'' Judge said of LeMahieu. "DJ stole the show. We're happy for him. No better person I want breaking that record.
"We've got something special."
The most recent game in which the Yankees failed to hit a home run was May 25 against the Kansas City Royals.
Last season, the Yankees set the major league record for home runs in a single season, with 267.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.