The New York Yankees, perilously short on pitching since the year 2001, just splurged for the right ace at both the perfect time and a decade late, concurrently.
Gerrit Cole, the man caught between two worlds in that he both is the best in the game, and could somehow be even better, will suit up in pinstripes next season, ending an 11-year recruitment by being tabbed as the man to lead the next generation of Yankees to their most fully realized form.
Perhaps most stunning about the entire process, too, was just how much leaked out in the immediate aftermath about how impactful the idea of New York and the Yankees was to Cole.
After all, after so long, fans were starting to wrongfully assume he wanted nothing to do with them.
There was 2008, when Damon Oppenheimer and the Yanks took a late first-round flyer on the man who attended the 2001 World Series sporting a "Yankee Fan Today, Tomorrow, Forever" banner. Cole instead opted to further his education at UCLA, as he'd promised all teams, fending off what we now know must've been a very tempting chance, and fashioning himself into the first overall pick three years later.
Then there was 2017, when Cole to the Yankees felt a fait accompli once more, until the Pirates gummed up the works by accepting an offer of Joe Musgrove and Colin Moran (???) over New York's sales package, rumored to include Miguel Andujar or Clint Frazier. That, unfortunately, seemed like the end of the dream. If Cole had the type of front-office sway and deep, abiding love for the frieze above right field that we thought he might, surely he would've called off the dogs and aborted this trade to New York's burgeoning rival, right?
Nope. Dream deferred, and potentially deflated.
But see, the thing about being a "Yankees and Angels fan" growing up, as we'd heard this offseason, is that one team always wins out. It's usually the team you list first, the one that plays nowhere near your childhood home.
Though it felt like it took him an eternity to get here, Cole is arriving at the absolute perfect time for this franchise. Replete with young pre-arbitration stars on offense and in search of a leader on the mound, it's quite possible that there's no addition more ideal than a peak-of-his-powers gunslinger, with several prime years still ahead of him. Like Pedro Martinez in Boston in 1999, or Randy Johnson arriving in the desert, this is more than a simple addition. It's a predestined union.
Too corny for you? Fine. It's also the best pitcher in baseball for five full seasons before an opt-out, ready to stick it to the Red Sox and Astros 20 times a year, and always looking for Andy Pettitte in the stands whenever possible.
And yes, it's now clear he wanted it to happen this way all along.