Gerrit Cole
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The New York Yankees have landed the big score in free agency in signing Gerrit Cole to a record-setting contract.

The New York Yankees have won the Gerrit Cole free agency sweepstakes. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Cole will now head to New York on a record nine-year, $324 million contract.

Cole was long considered the grand prize of this offseason’s free agency class. His contract dwarfs the seven-year, $245 million deal Stephen Strasburg signed with the Washington Nationals on Monday. In signing Cole, the Yankees beat out the righty’s hometown Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand also reported the Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants as mystery teams in the mix. Feinsand also reported Cole’s deal with the Yankees includes a full no-trade clause. Per several sources, the deal includes an opt-out after five years.

Cole, 29, is coming off a career year with the Houston Astros. He went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and an MLB-best 326 strikeouts in just 212.1 innings of work. He spent the first five years of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who took him No. 1 out of UCLA in the 2011 MLB Draft. The Yankees also originally drafted Cole out of high school in 2008 before he chose to attend UCLA.

For his career, Cole is 94-52 with a 3.22 ERA.

And in the blink of an eye, the Yankees are the team to beat. Gerrit Cole provides them a rock-solid ace at the top of the rotation. Cole should be immediately penciled in as the Opening Day starter.

Now, general manager Brian Cashman can shift his priorities. Veteran outfielder Brett Gardner is interested in coming back, and righty reliever Dellin Betances could also be back.

Cole may be off the market, but Cashman and the Yankees might still have a few moves left this winter.

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