The New York Yankees know just how difficult reaching the World Series is. But their new ace in Gerrit Cole has that vintage championship mindset.
The goal of every organization in Major League Baseball should be to win a World Series. Those are just standard goals around the league. But for teams like the New York Yankees, it truly is a World Series or bust mentality year in and year out. Getting every player to buy into that mindset can be challenging but not for a player like Gerrit Cole.
The Yankees haven’t been back to the World Series since they won it all in 2009. The 2010s marked the first decade the Yankees failed to make the World Series since the 1910s. Re-loading with a stacked lineup, the Evil Empire got back to their soul-crushing ways in free agency by signing Cole to the richest contract ever given to a pitcher.
Cole got a taste of what the World Series is like during his final season with the Houston Astros in 2019. They lost to the Washington Nationals in seven games. Now leading the Yankees in the AL East, Cole is hungry for more of that championship appetite.
“I love it,” Cole told reporters Thursday. “From a player perspective, it doesn’t get much [simpler] than that. It’s the dream to go out there every day and try to win every single time. It sounds very simple, but you guys know better than I do, being around this organization, there are a lot of moving parts and there are a lot of people that pour a lot of time into simplifying that one theme: We need to win a world championship… That drive to win is what fuels you.”
Handing out such a large contract to a free agent is risky territory. Not only must that player have a talent worth paying that much for, but they must also have leadership qualities in the locker room. Cole has both of those in spades. He’s arguably the best starting pitcher in the league and his desire to be the best will be infectious in the locker room.
Even in his bullpen sessions, it is noticeable. The body language Cole displays when his pitches miss by a few inches from his target. The way he approaches every pitch making sure he has a plan for various outcomes. The Yankees have some talented pitchers, but they’ve longed for an ace like this.
Getting back to the World Series isn’t an easy task. But with Cole leading the way, the championship mentality appears to be back in the Bronx.