Monday, February 22, 2021

Yankees Spring Training: Gerrit Cole Setting The Tone

Gerrit Cole in action on Monday. Photo provided by New York Yankees.

The Yankees enter the 2021 season with their usual sky-high expectations, with a championship-or-bust mentality, and the player that best exemplifies that is pitcher Gerrit Cole.

When Cole, one of the best starters in baseball, joined the Yankees ahead of last season, it seemed like they had the final piece to win their first championship since 2009. While they fell short, losing to Tampa Bay in the Division Series, Cole came as advertised.

In the pandemic-shortened 60-game season, Cole went 7-3 with a 2.84 ERA, making 12 starts, allowing just 27 runs (23 earned), 52 hits and 17 walks, with 94 strikeouts, in 73.0 innings.

While the Yankees secured their ace with Cole in the 2019 offseason, they sought out to add depth in the rotation behind Cole, and they succeeded by signing former two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and trading for his old Pirates teammate Jameson Taillon. The rotation will be rounded out by top prospects like Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, and Michael King; the reliable lefty Jordan Montgomery, and a combination of Luis Severino (when he returns from Tommy John surgery around June), Domingo German (returning from a domestic violence suspension), Jonathan Loaisiga, who will be entering his fourth season, and Chad Green, who would most likely be used as an "opener" at times.

The Yankees also recently brought in catcher Robinson Chirinos, who worked well with Cole while with Houston in 2019.

Here are pictures of Cole in action on Monday at the Yankees spring training complex in Tampa Bay, along with catchers Gary Sanchez and Chirinos. (all photos provided by the New York Yankees):

Gerrit Cole walking to the mound.

Cole and Gary Sanchez after a workout session.

Robinson Chirinos and Sanchez.

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