From firsthand experience, Bernie Williams knows what it feels like to face pressure -- and thrive -- in New York with a big contract.
The former star CF from 1991-06 -- all in New York -- was a five-time All-Star and four-time World Series champion with the Yankees, signing a seven-year deal worth $87.5 million along the way.
So when Williams was asked about the Yankees' new deal for RHP Gerrit Cole, who recently signed a nine-year contract worth $324 million, he offered his advice.
"He's a player that has come into the city with a lot of expectations," Williams said of Cole during an interview with MLB Network. "Obviously, every time he doesn't do well with that side, kind of expectations, they're going to throw his contract in. But I think, for me, has just has to stay the course. He, obviously, has a lot of confidence in his ability to play the game and to pitch. New York is going to challenge that ability and that confidence in many ways.
"So I think in order for him to be successful, he just has to kind of go back to what made him successful and stick with that plan. And no matter what happens, no matter the distractions and everything New York can throw at him, he has to stay firm with his course and having that confidence and his ability that have brought him in the first place to New York."
Williams' 16-year MLB career ended with an argument for him to land in the Baseball Hall of Fame, slashing .297/.381/.477 while hitting 287 home runs and driving 1,257 RBI.
On the mound, Cole embraces even bigger expectations as the Yankees' expected ace for the next decade, signing the biggest contract in MLB history for a pitcher after going 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA as a 2019 member of the Houson Astros.