Brian Cashman is making Gerrit Cole the richest player in New York Yankees history, and he’s adding a new nickname as a signing bonus.
When Players Weekend 2020 rolls around, Bombers who aren’t sure what to put on their jerseys should consult Brian Cashman. The New York Yankees‘ general manager has shown a propensity for nicknames, and Gerrit Cole is the latest recipient.
During a YES Network interview, Cashman called Cole the Yankees’ “white whale.” It’s not the first time the GM has used a fictional sea monster to describe a player.
When Cashman called Gary Sanchez “The Kraken” in 2015, the name stuck.
Cole, who went with “Chef G” for Players Weekend 2019, may also be due for an upgrade in the nickname department.
A nickname is born. Brian Cashman: "I'd like to unleash the Kraken, which is Gary Sanchez, on our roster in 2016 if I can." #Kraken
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) December 9, 2015
By likening Cole to the whale from Moby Dick, Cashman was referencing his long-time pursuit of the hurler.
New York drafted Cole out of high school with their first pick in the 2008 MLB draft (28th overall). However, he wisely chose to attend UCLA, and the Pittsburgh Pirates made him the first-overall selection of the 2011 draft.
The Bombers then tried to acquire Cole via trade ahead of the 2018 season. But Cashman and company were unwilling to part with the prospect booty the Pirates demanded, and Cole ended up on the Houston Astros.
When Cole hit free agency in 2019, many fans were likely skeptical that the Yankees would truly chase him. After all, New York had nearly developed a reputation as cheapskates in free agency.
But Cole woke a sleeping giant spender, accepting a mammoth nine-year, $324 million deal from the Bombers.
Cole, 29, is 94-52 with a 3.22 ERA and 1,336 Ks in 1,195 innings for his career. He’s coming off his best season in 2019, when he was 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and a jaw-dropping 326 strikeouts in 212.1 frames.
He’ll be expected to give the Yankees much of the same. But if the powerful righty somehow disappoints, Brian Cashman may have to nickname himself “Captain Ahab.”