Pitch clock showdown: Gerrit Cole blames MLB for injuries, demands collaboration

Gerrit cole, player of the yankees
Amanda Paula
Monday April 8, 2024

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Gerrit Cole, the celebrated New York Yankees pitcher and reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, has voiced his frustration regarding the recent dispute between Major League Baseball (MLB) and the players’ association over the implementation of a pitch clock. Cole drew a poignant comparison, likening their contentious exchange to that of divorced parents struggling to co-parent effectively.

Gerrit Cole blames lack of collaboration for pitch clock dispute

Gerrit Cole, player of the new york yankees
NJ

Expressing his dismay at the divisive nature of the issue, Gerrit Cole lamented the inability of both parties to collaborate and address the concerns at hand, likening it to the challenges faced by divorced parents in managing shared responsibilities. He stressed that players aren’t misbehaving but underscored the urgency of resolving the issue collaboratively.

The disagreement centers on the players’ association’s contention that the introduction of a shorter pitch clock, despite player resistance, has contributed to a surge in pitcher injuries. Several notable pitchers, including Shane Bieber, Spencer Strider, Jonathan Loáisiga, Eury Pérez, and Trevor Gott, have recently been sidelined with elbow injuries, leading to heightened scrutiny of MLB’s policies.

In response, MLB refuted the union’s claims, citing empirical evidence and long-term trends suggesting increased velocity and spin rates as primary factors in arm injuries. The league emphasized its ongoing research efforts to understand the root causes of rising injury rates, citing a study by Johns Hopkins University that found no conclusive evidence linking the pitch clock to increased injuries.

Despite MLB’s assertions, Gerrit Cole urged Commissioner Rob Manfred and the league to acknowledge and address the players’ concerns. Emphasizing Manfred’s responsibility to prioritize player welfare, Cole underscored the need for a more empathetic and collaborative approach from MLB’s leadership.

Gerrit Cole’s critique highlights the complexities of the ongoing dialogue between MLB and its players regarding player safety and game management policies. As the debate continues, finding common ground and fostering constructive dialogue remains paramount in addressing the pressing issues facing professional baseball.

Gerrit Cole’s injury throws wrench in Yankees’ $324 million gamble

gerrit cole, new work yankees' player
The Athletic

As stated by Forbes, Gerrit Cole has reached a milestone in his journey back to the mound, as he has initiated a throwing program after starting the season on the injured list. However, there are still several steps to complete, and it’s crucial for Cole to complete them without pain if he intends to make his return when he is first eligible in late May. This is uncharted territory for Cole, known for his remarkable durability, with minimal appearances on the injured list throughout his 300-start career. This development raises questions about the future of his nine-year, $324 million deal with the Yankees.

When the Yankees signed Gerrit Cole to that historic contract in 2019, they made him the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history in terms of both total contract value and average annual value (AAV) for any free agent. The record-breaking deal was well-deserved, considering Cole’s consistent performance over seven seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros. He had maintained exceptional health, with only a minor hamstring injury in 2019 as the lone blip on his record.

The Yankees reaped the benefits of their investment, as Gerrit Cole continued to showcase remarkable health and earned Cy Young Award votes in each of his first four seasons in New York. He clinched the award for the first time after an outstanding season, leading the MLB with 33 starts and maintaining an AL-leading 2.63 ERA last season.

Until Spring Training, it seemed inevitable that Gerrit Cole would reclaim his title as the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history, even as Yoshinobu Yamamoto briefly held the title with a $325 million, 12-year deal from the Los Angeles Dodgers in January.

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