New York Yankees sign Gerrit Cole to record-shattering contract

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By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com

The New York Yankees have sent a message to the baseball world: they're still the Yankees and nobody throws their financial weight around like them.

Right-hander Gerrit Cole will sign in New York for record-breaking $324 million over nine years. It is the largest contract given out in the game's history to a pitcher by nearly $80 million, shattering the record set by Stephen Strasburg just one day ago.

Cole is now the second-highest paid player ever, behind only Bryce Harper, who inked a 13-year pact with the Phillies for $330 million last year.

According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the deal comes with a player opt-out clause after the fifth season.

The Yankees desire to land Cole was the worst kept secret in baseball. The team lusted after the American League Cy Young award runner-up and they refused to be denied. The Angels and Dodgers were also said to be in the mix for Cole's services.

According to Jared Carrabis of Barstool Sports, the Angels didn't come close to what the Yankees ultimately gave Cole.

The Yankees have long coveted Cole. They drafted him in the first round in 2008, but couldn't strike a contract with him. Cole, a Southern California native, went to UCLA and reentered the draft three years later, where he was taken first overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Yanks reportedly discussed a trade with the Pirates two offseasons ago, but the righty ultimately was traded to Houston.

With Cole moving from the Astros to the Bronx, the Yankees will certainly be considered the American League favorite in the eyes of many.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub's own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.