SAN DIEGO — Meeting with Gerrit Cole and the pitcher’s wife for the first time last week at the Fashion Island Hotel in Newport Beach, California, Brian Cashman tossed out a literary reference that prompted laughter.
“You’re my white whale,” the New York Yankees general manager said he told Cole. “He was someone we drafted in the first round, and he chose to go to college. And we tried to trade for him, and Pittsburgh chose to trade him to Houston instead. So we’re hoping three’s a charm.”
It was. With the help of what sources told ESPN is a record $324 million, nine-year contract.
Cashman harpooned the biggest prize in the free-agent market, agreeing to a deal with the 29-year-old right-hander Tuesday night.
After two dominant seasons with Houston, Cole will join a rotation that projects to include Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ or Domingo German, and a roster built around young stars Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez.
“You’re talking about a guy that is the best of the best,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Wednesday. “You’re just hopefully finishing off a team that can potentially win a championship.”
After several seasons of…