SAN DIEGO — Gerrit Cole quickly ended Stephen Strasburg’s tenure as baseball’s highest-paid pitcher.

Cole agreed to a $324 million, nine-year contract with the New York Yankees on Tuesday night, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been announced.

Cole’s deal established marks for pitchers in total dollars, topping the $245 million, seven-year contract Stephen Strasburg finalized a day earlier to remain with the World Series champion Washington Nationals.

Its $36 million average is a record for any player, beating the $35.5 million in outfielder Mike Trout’s $426.5 million, 12-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels that started last season. Cole gets $36 million annually and can opt out after the 2024 season. He also has a full no-trade provision.

Cole was baseball’s most dominant pitcher for much of 2019 and helped the Houston Astros come within one win of their second World Series title in three seasons.

“Obviously, when you are talking about a player at the level of Gerrit Cole, in a lot of ways that’s a game-changing type talent,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said earlier in the day. “This is a guy that’s really hungry, really driven.”

Cole joins a rotation that includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ or Domingo Germán, who may be suspended at the season’s start under baseball’s domestic violence policy.

Cole was drafted by the Yankees in the first round with the 28th overall pick out of high school in 2008 but chose to go to UCLA, then was drafted first overall by Pittsburgh three years later. Traded after the 2017 season, he transformed his career in two seasons with the Astros.

He went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA last season as the Astros reached the World Series, finishing second to teammate Justin Verlander in AL Cy Young Award balloting. He had 326 strikeouts in 212 1/3 innings.

ANGELS: Third baseman Anthony Rendon and the Los Angeles Angels agreed to a $245 million, seven-year contract Wednesday, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been announced and was subject to a successful physical.

Rendon is the third prized free agent to strike a big-money deal at this week’s baseball winter meetings. He’ll join three-time MVP Mike Trout on a team that’s made just one postseason appearance in the past decade.

The Angels had missed out on free agent right-hander Gerrit Cole, who agreed to a record $324 million, nine-year contract with the New York Yankees on Tuesday night, a person familiar with the deal told the AP.

Rendon, who has played all seven of his major league seasons with Washington, drove in a career-best 126 runs while helping the Nationals capture the franchise’s first World Series championship this year.

DODGERS: Reliever Blake Treinen reached agreement on a $10 million, one-year contract with Los Angeles, just more than a week after Oakland declined to offer him a contract.

A person with direct knowledge of the negotiations confirmed Treinen’s deal, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it hadn’t been formally announced by the seven-time reigning NL West champions.

The right-handed Treinen, a 2018 All-Star, posted a 0.78 ERA and 38 saves in 2018 but had a 4.91 ERA this year. He was replaced by Liam Hendriks in the closer role as the low-budget A’s earned the AL’s top

TRADE: The Chicago White Sox acquired right fielder Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers for minor league outfielder Steele Walker.

Mazara, 24, has tantalizing power but produced mixed results over his first four big league seasons. The 6-foot-4 slugger batted .268 with 19 home runs, 66 RBI and a .786 OPS in 2019.

“He looks like he’s 7 foot every time I see him in the box,” White Sox Manager Rick Renteria said Tuesday. “Runs extremely well for a big guy. Can defend. Good arm. Brings a lot of qualities to the plate. Can pop one in the seats as quickly as anybody.”

Mazara projects to make about $5.5 million in arbitration and is eligible for free agency after the 2021 season.

Walker was a second-round draft pick out of the University of Oklahoma in 2018. He batted .284 with 10 homers and 62 RBI for two Class A teams in his first full pro season.

ROCKIES: Right-handed reliever Scott Oberg agreed to a $13 million, three-year contract with a club option for 2023 that could make the deal worth $21 million over four seasons.

RULE CHANGES: Major League Baseball is pushing ahead with a rule that requires pitchers to face at least three batters or finish a half-inning.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred also said Wednesday that active rosters will increase by one to 26 from opening day through Aug. 31 and will drop from 40 to 28 from Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season. What had been a 26th player for certain day-night doubleheaders through Aug. 31 will become a 27th player in those situations.

Teams may carry no more than 13 pitchers through Aug. 31 and no more than 14 from Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season.

Also, the injured list for pitchers will revert to 15 days from 10 days. In tandem, pitchers optioned to the minors will have to spend 15 days with farm teams before they can be recalled unless they replace a pitcher going on the IL.

As part of a March 8 agreement with the players’ association, management had the right to make the changes for 2020.

All pitchers must face at least three batters or end a half-inning, unless injured. While the union refused to agree to that provision, it also said it will not challenge it.

SEVEN MAJOR league teams will expand protective netting to the foul poles and 15 others will expand their netting generally to the area in the outfield where the stands begin to angle away from the field, Manfred said.

The remaining eight clubs already have installed netting that extends substantially beyond the far end of the dugouts, Manfred said at the winter meetings.

BASEBALLS WEREN’T juiced during a record-setting 2019 regular season, according to a study commissioned by Major League Baseball.

They were just flying farther.

A four-person committee of scientists concluded baseballs this year had less drag on average than in previous seasons, contributing to a power surge that resulted in a record number of home runs. Their report released Wednesday blamed the spike on inconsistencies in the seam height of the baseballs, as well as “changes in player behavior.” Batters connected 6,776 times in the regular season, smashing the record of 6,105 set in 2017.

The committee says it did not find evidence that MLB intentionally altered baseballs and believes inconsistencies were due to “manufacturing variability.” The balls are hand-sewn by workers at Rawlings’ factory in Costa Rica.

SIGN STEALING: Major League Baseball has interviewed almost 60 people and obtained tens of thousands of electronic messages in its investigation into allegations the Houston Astros broke rules by using a television camera to steal signs.

Former Houston pitcher Mike Fiers sparked the investigation when he told The Athletic last month the Astros had used the camera to steal signs in 2017 during the team’s run to its first World Series title.

Astros Manager AJ Hinch and Boston Manager Alex Cora, the Astros’ 2017 bench coach, said they had spoken with MLB investigators, and Hinch said he had been involved in several sessions. New York Mets Manager Carlos Beltran, a Houston player in 2017, refused to say whether he had been interviewed.


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