If you hate pandering, then Gerrit Cole’s introductory press conference with the New York Yankees was something to avoid.

The Yankees on Wednesday formally introduced the star pitcher, whom they signed to a record nine-year, $324 million contract. The event also gave fans their first look at a clean-shaven Cole.

At one point, when asked why he chose the Yankees, Cole said, “Because it was my dream.”

That’s sweet and all, but there’s just one problem: After being selected by the Yankees in the first round of the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft, Cole instead elected to attend UCLA on a baseball scholarship. The Yankees reportedly were willing to offer a large signing bonus to the then-teenager.

Furthermore, let’s not act like $324 million didn’t have something to do with Cole’s decision. We have a hard time believing he would’ve taken a discount to sign with the Yankees over going to a team offering nearly 1/3 of a billion dollars.

All that said, the Yankees added one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Like it or not, they now are the prohibitive favorites to win the 2020 World Series.

That said, championships aren’t won on paper.

Thumbnail photo via Danielle Parhizkaran/USA TODAY Sports Images