Cole’s contract includes a player opt-out option after the 2024 season, but if he chooses to exercise that option, the Yankees would be able to void the opt-out and tack on a one-year extension worth $36 million. Cole also has a full no-trade clause in his contract with New York.Cole made $14.6 million in five seasons with the Pirates and another $20.25 million in two seasons with the Astros. So if he plays out his new contract with the Yankees, his career earnings will grow to north of $336 million — even more if he opts out after the 2024 season and New York counters with the one-year extension.A three-time MLB All-Star, Cole carries a 3.22 career ERA and has gotten better in his late-20s, striking out more than 12 batters per nine innings over his past two seasons. The Yankees will gladly pay record amounts of money for that kind of starting pitching as they aggressively chase their 28th World Series title. Yes, Gerrit Cole plays for the Yankees because New York in December made him the highest-paid pitcher in the history of baseball with a nine-year contract worth $324 million. He will earn $36 million each year for almost a decade.Money aside, though, Cole plays for the Yankees because the deal in free agency made for the perfect player-team match. MORE: Why Cole is a safe bet for the YankeesCole grew up a Yankees fan, so his reasoning for signing with New York, money included, is fairly obvious. But the Yankees evidently were even more interested in Cole than the 29-year-old righty was in putting on the pinstripes.The Yankees had been going after Cole for more than a decade. They selected him out of high school with the No. 28 overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft, but he chose to play college baseball at UCLA, instead. When Cole became available again in the 2011 MLB Draft, the Pirates didn’t let him slip beyond the No. 1 pick. In 2018, a rebuilding Pittsburgh team traded Cole to Houston, where he helped the Astros beat the Yankees in last year’s ALCS.So when Cole hit free agency after the 2019 season, it marked his first time on the open market and the Yankees’ first chance to do whatever it took to add him to the roster. New York did just that.From SN’s Joe Rivera: “Cole wasn’t just Plan A and Option 1 for New York. He was the bee’s knees, the cat’s pajamas, the whole shebang. Cole wasn’t just Option 1 — he was the only option. New York pulled out all the stops — and dollars — to bring him in, including having Andy Pettitte, the former Yankee great who was one of Cole’s favorite pitchers growing up, at the Winter Meetings. (Yankees general manager Brian) Cashman made like a mechanic in an O’Reilly Autoparts with a blank check and a broken Lambourghini in the parking lot.”Below are the details of the Yankees contract that made Cole the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history.Gerrit Cole contract with YankeesCole was easily the No. 1 player in MLB free agency, and about a day after the Nationals re-signed pitcher Stephen Strasburg to a record contract worth $35 million per year, the Yankees raised the bar yet again with Cole’s nine-year deal worth $36 million per year for a total of $324 million.The Angels and the Dodgers also were going after Cole in free agency, but the Yankees won the bidding war and made him their biggest starting pitcher acquisition since they signed CC Sabathia more than a decade ago. Courtesy of Sportrac, below are Cole’s simple-but-massive contract figures in New York.YearSalary/cash2020$13,333,3332021$36 million2022$36 million2023$36 million2024$36 million2025$36 million2026$36 million2027$36 million2028$36 millionCole’s 2020 cash figure represents his prorated salary during MLB’s abbreviated season. Factoring in that proration, his total contract value drops to $301.3 million.