NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 25: DJ LeMahieu of the New York Yankees speaks after receiving the Sid Mercer-Dick Young
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

DJ LeMahieu had a pretty significant reaction when the New York Yankees signed star pitcher Gerrit Cole in free agency.

The New York Yankees and their players were rightfully excited about signing star pitcher Gerrit Cole in free agency back in December. This was especially true of infielder DJ LeMahieu, who claimed in an interview that he couldn’t sleep after the fact.

“I mean, he’s one of the toughest I faced, we faced all year last year,” LeMahieu said. “To have him on our side is a pretty good feeling. The night the news broke, I had a tough time sleeping. I was excited.”

For context, Cole faced the Yankees once in the regular season last year, on April 9. He pitched seven innings in a no-decision and allowed three runs on four hits while striking out six. LeMahieu was hitless in four at-bats in the game.

Cole then faced the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS and pitched seven shutout innings. This time, LeMahieu managed two singles against the dominant righty.

Now, however, the shoe is on the other foot. Cole is a Yankee after going 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and an MLB-best 326 strikeouts. He signed a nine-year, $324 million contract with New York, making a lifelong dream come true.

And it’s no wonder DJ LeMahieu couldn’t sleep well after learning the news. Not only did it break late at night, but Gerrit Cole was the biggest name on the market. For the past two years, his work with the Astros struck fear into the hearts of opposing hitters.

He now gets to do that as a New York Yankee, and count DJ LeMahieu among the most excited.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.