Ex-Yankees star says Gerrit Cole will now face ‘double the pressure’ in New York
Gerrit Cole’s delayed start to his New York Yankees career will present some unique challenges for him, at least in the eyes of one former Yankees star.
In an interview this week with The New York Post, retired All-Star slugger Mark Teixeira, a crown jewel of the Yankees’ 2009 free agent class, spoke on the added difficulties that Cole may now face because of the current situation.
“I couldn’t imagine going through that,” the now 40-year-old Teixeira said. “2009 was the most anticipation I ever had for any baseball season. Signing that contract and having a chance at a World Series, I wanted to get to work. I would have reported to Tampa [for spring training] the next day. For a guy like Gerrit Cole to be home throwing bullpens in his backyard when he should be at Yankee Stadium in front of 50,000 fans, it’s got to be tough.
“Cole is the best in the business because of what he does over a six-month season,” Teixeira continued. “Now there’s double the pressure on what was already a pressure-packed season. And not just for Cole, but all the Yankees, because of the team [GM Brian] Cashman put together.”
The 2019 MLB strikeouts leader Cole was the top prize of this winter’s free agent class, signing a record-breaking nine-year, $324 million contract to join the Yankees. He was only able to get four starts for the team in spring training though (for a total of nine innings pitched) before play was suspended.
As for Teixeira, he certainly delivered on his similarly high price tag in his first season with the Yankees in 2009, leading the American League in home runs and RBIs as the team went on to capture their 27th World Series title. Cole might feel pressure to deliver comparable success despite a likely shortened 2020 season, especially with how all-in he already is on the Yankees.