When Yankees GM Brian Cashman wants a player, he normally gets him. And when you have the backing of Hal Steinbrenner who also wants a player bad, normally offers that can't be refused make it to the table.
That's exactly what happened with Gerrit Cole, who was officially introduced as a Yankee on Wednesday.
It was a long time coming for a player the organization drafted out of high school in the first round, and has been following ever since he made it to the bigs. Cashman noted in his portion of the news conference that it was the right place and time to make sure Cole didn't escape them again.
In many ways, it's the same situation that occurred when the Yankees went after CC Sabathia before the 2009 season. They wanted the premier free agent starter, and they made him the richest one in the league with a $161 million deal. Cole's deal, of course, has just a little bit more money attached.
"In terms of comparisons to the CC situation, yes," Cashman said. "I always invoke my John Calipari, 'If you get in the house, you have to close the deal.' I was able to get on the California soil again and in a position to try to sell the opportunity here and put a significant offer in front to make it hard for him to say no."
Steinbrenner explained why he wanted Cole so badly, and was willing to put up whatever money it took to get him.
"The one thing I loved about Gerrit was, I truly believed, unlike some other top free agents in years past, that he would be a game-changer for us," he explained. "Starting pitcher, incredibly talented obviously, and incredible makeup: he's tough, he's intelligent, impeccable work ethic, 29 years old. You throw all those things together and you got a special player that can really make a difference."
During the process of trying to negotiate with Cole, Cashman said he was "so impressive," as he asked a number of questions with his wife, Amy, and agent Scott Boras. And in the end, he joined a Yankees team that are easily the World Series favorites now after Cole's addition.
That's what the 29-year-old is searching for, too. He talked about how close he was with the Astros just two months ago, and the Nationals found a way to come back. On the other hand, the Yankees were watching from the sidelines after losing once against to Houston in the ALCS.
Cole could be the missing piece the Yankees have been searching for, and with his hefty payout, Cashman is certainly betting on it.
"He's an exceptionally talented pitcher who's got a track record to back up the reputation. He was a prime free agent that doesn't come along very often," Cashman said. "I know the future doesn't guarantee success, but if we're going to place a bet, a significant bet, we felt this was a bet worth taking."
Steinbrenner added: "He embraces winning every bit as much as any of us do. He wants to win world championships, that's what he wants to do. And again, he puts very high expectations on himself and you can't ask for more than that from a player."
Whether or not those championship aspirations come to fruition in 2020 or beyond will be exciting to watch. Cole wants it just as badly as everyone else in the organization. But will he be that big difference maker in the rotation? That's what Cashman and Steinbrenner are banking on.
$324 million to be exact.
"Stepping up to pull down a Gerrit Cole-type caliber player can be all the difference in the world," Cashman said. "But, at the same time, he can't do it alone. He can't be the driving force. It's going to be him with his teammates and our field staff, but we're looking forward to testing them and seeing where it takes us. Hopefully it takes us to the promised land and leads up to a Canyon of Heroes [parade]."