Agent Scott Boras, who represents some of the best players in MLB today, spoke for nearly an hour at the GM Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif. on Wednesday, touching on a variety of topics including Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.
The Cy Young Award candidate was having a fantastic year for New York, even while dealing with a positive COVID-19 test that forced him out 10 days. But toward the end of the campaign, he suffered a hamstring injury and Boras said it was something he battled all the way to the end.
“I don’t want to get into the specific dynamics, but he was basically dealing with things that didn’t allow him to repeat his delivery,” Boras told the media.
Cole’s problems began during a game toward the end of the regular season against the Cleveland Indians in the Bronx where, frankly, he was mauled. He allowed seven runs on 10 hits, including two homers over 5.2 innings on Sept. 19. And that came after a solid stretch where he didn’t allow more than two earned runs in six previous starts.
From there, it appeared Cole had some command issues with his fastball and his stuff just wasn’t as sharp. Fast forward to the AL Wild Card Game in Boston, Cole didn’t get out of the third inning before manager Aaron Boone walked to the mound to take the ball.
“As much as he tries and as competitive as Gerrit is, this guy works so hard. You just can’t replicate pitching in games,” Boras said, referencing the uptick in innings pitched compared to the shortened 2020 season as well. “You can be in the greatest amount of conditioning and do what you do, but once he popped that hamstring a bit, it really obviously – you can look at his numbers – it had an impact on him. He tried to fight through it.”
And to only make things worse, when MLB cracked down on the use of foreign substances by pitchers, Cole seemed to become the face of that new rule. Boras recognized that but he looked at it from a different perspective.
“Oh, I don’t think he was the face of that at all,” he said. “I just think he’s the one articulate enough to talk about it. The reality of it is his performances post that and the implementation of the new rules.”
Overall, through all the stuff on and off the field, Cole still managed to have a solid year as the Yanks’ ace. But it was tainted by its ending, a performance that doesn’t define why the Yanks were confident in bringing him to New York on a lucrative $324 million deal that Boras negotiated.
Cole was brought to the Bronx to win postseason starts. But, as the Yankees gear up for an aggressive offseason, he should have his chance at redemption in 2022 and beyond.
Source: Yahoo Sports