A New York Yankees’ legend Bernie Williams has some interesting advice for the new kid on the block, starting pitcher Gerrit Cole.
Williams spent his entire 16-year MLB career with the New York Yankees. Of course, he was going to be asked about the Yankees’ biggest free agent move in recent memory.
Williams began by talking about the pressure Cole will be under.
He points to Cole’s giant contract and how that’ll affect the media and fan’s outlook on him, saying, “He’s a player that has come into the city with a lot of expectations. Obviously, every time he doesn’t do well with that side, kind of expectations, they’re going to throw his contract in.”
Williams is right. Cole will be under immense pressure to succeed. To avoid being labeled a bust Cole will have to pitch to a Cy Young level—maybe even one of the worst free-agent signings ever considering the size of his contract. That kind of pressure can be brutal.
Nevertheless, Williams does believe Cole has what it takes to pitch under that pressure. He told MLB Network, “But I think, for me, he just has to stay the course. He, obviously, has a lot of confidence in his ability to play the game and to pitch.”
Cole just needs to continue to be the guy he was in Houston. If he cand do that the Yankees’ money will be well spent.
That said, according to Williams, there is one big obstacle in Cole’s way. “New York is going to challenge that ability and that confidence in many ways.”
Playing in New York, with these fans, and this media is rough. It has ruined more than one player’s career. Bernie Williams saw first-hand players like Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown and Kenny Rogers fall apart with the Yankees.
Yankees fans will hope Cole doesn’t join that trio in all-time disappointments. However, Bernie Williams knows what can happen when elite pitchers fail to “stay the course” in New York.