The New York Yankees beat a midnight ET deadline and re-signed veteran right-hander David Cone to a one-year, $8 million contract Wednesday night.
The deal include an incentive for games started and a Cy Young Award bonus that could push the value to $9.75 million.
The new deal nullifies Cone's $5.5 million contract option that was triggered when he reached the 200-inning mark last season. Cone could have opted for free agency after filing conditionally last week. Twice, he extended the deadline for making that decision.
"A lot of people might second-guess me for not testing the free-agent waters, but it was important for me to stay a Yankee," Cone said. "I was willing to concede."
"I wanted two or three years, but we were willing to compromise. Part of it is I have the confidence I still have enough left to have another good year and part of it was the Yankees' insistence in talking about a one-year deal. I could have gone out there and tested the market, but I was willing to forgo that and hammer out a one-year deal."
Cone's signing, general manager Brian Cashman said, answers another important question.
"We're happy to get David back in the fold and make another run at another championship," Cashman added. "I don't know how long David's gonna go. His heart has carried him as (much as his ability). From my perspective, it was better to approach it on a one-year basis and see what happens."
The 35-year-old Cone was 20-7 with a 3.55 ERA in 1998, helping the Yankees to the best record in American League history. He tied for the AL lead in wins with Roger Clemens of Toronto and Rick Helling of Texas while rnking fourth in opponents' batting average (.237), fifth in strikeouts (209) and eighth in ERA.
Cone was 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA in four postseason starts as the Yankees defeated the Texas Rangers in the AL Division Series and the Cleveland Indians in the AL Championship Series before sweeping the San Diego Padres in the World Series.
In 84 starts with the Yankees, Cone is 48-17 with a 3.26 ERA. The numbers are even more impressive at Yankee Stadium, where he is 28-7 lifetime with a 3.16 ERA in 47 starts. Cone went 96 consecutive starts with New York without suffering back-to-back losses, a streak that ended in September.
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