Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gerrit Cole UCLA Bound?

There seems to be a lot of [understandable] confusion regarding Gerrit Cole's decision to attend college and consequently turn down a multi-million dollar deal with the New York Yankees. I'm pretty confused myself. But, I have been hearing a lot of people discuss the topic with the misconception that the failed signing has, in any way, to do with the efforts of Brian Cashman.
I just sent an email explaining this to my brother and this is what I said:
This falls solely on Cole [and/or his dad]..

As you probably know, the baseball draft is an entirely different animal than the NBA or NFL drafts. In baseball, kids can get drafted out of HS [like Cole], but they can choose to go to college instead [like Cole]. However, the top prep players make sure their advisors inform clubs what the player plans to do in regards to the draft.

For example, Alex Meyer is a beast RHP coming out of High School - he made it abundently clear that he would be attending Kentucky U. next year so teams shouldn't bother picking him in the draft. The Red Sox picked him in the 20th round hoping a bunch of money might change his mind. It didn't and Meyer turned down $2million to go to college.

Cole, on the other hand, informed everyone that he DID want to pursue a careeer in professional baseball [the minors] and did not plan on attending UCLA - unless of course his financial desires weren't met. Knowing this, the Yankees jumped at the chance to draft Cole, and knew they had the financial might to sign him regardlesss of what outlandish demands Scott Boras made.

Out of nowhere Cole said he wanted to go to school and that no amount of money could sway that fact. Essentially, Cole turned down money which only top-5 picks got [and a chance to pitch for his favorite team] in order to got to school [and a just OK UCLA program].

For me and everyone else who followed the negotiations, this is completely inexplicable. There is no sound reasoning behind this decision except for maybe Cole's desire to be the big man on campus and pick up college chicks. Even so, having $5 or $6 million in the bank would probably get him more than a baseball scholarship. Hope he knows what he's doing, because an arm injury is just one greedy UCLA coach away - considering the overuse top college pitchers often face.
And the hits just keep on coming, huh?

According to an anonymous source cited by the always reliable Tyler Kepner, 1st round draft pick Gerrit Cole will not sign with the Yankees and instead plans on attending UCLA.

Kepner says that money was not an issue as Cole decided to go to school regardless of what money the Yankees offered.

This, regardless of what Yankees brass say, is a gutpunch considering an 18 year-old with a high-90s fastball and potential plus breaking ball is a rare commodity. It hurts even more considering the underwhelming status of the Yankees 2008 draft - which becomes especially evident without Cole in the fold.

Aside from Brett Marshall, and the probable signing of LHP Anthony Bleich, the Yankees played it safe this draft. Cole was the one piece of the puzzle which had to be had. Unfortunately, Scott Boras probably pushed for the same type of major league deal given to Andrew Brackman, and when he didn't get it, decided to take Cole's electric right arm to college and hope to get a Porcello type deal.

Looks like Mr. Cole wasn't nearly as big a Yankees fan as he led on. Either that or Boras pulled another one of his hypnotist tricks on Gerrit and Papa Cole.

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