Rumor: With 35 games down, the league standings are starting to shape up. The Pittsburgh Pirates have suffered through a lot of adversity already, and are looking up in the NL Central.
As of now, the Pittsburgh Pirates are in last place in the NL Central. Yes, the season is young, but there have been so many challenges already that it is going to be hard for them to make up ground. When you consider that their best all-around player in Starling Marte is suspended until July. In addition to Marte, their biggest impact bat, Jung Ho Kang, has yet to be allowed back into the country.
On top of those two frustrating situations, the Pittsburgh Pirates could be losing one of their top young pitchers due to a terrible circumstance of cancer. Even if Jameson Taillon is cleared of it, he is likely to miss at least a month as he recovers from surgery, and that is the best case scenario. This, of course, is a completely different situation from Kang and Marte. Regardless, the current team has a steep hill to climb if they want to be competitive in the division.
When a team is struggling early in the season and the outlook is just as bleak, rumors start to float around the league. What teams will be buyers and sellers at the deadline, and who could be the chips on the market. A few weeks ago, ESPN’s Buster Olney speculated that the Pittsburgh Pirates could entertain offers for Cole this summer for a few different reasons. The link to the article is here if you would like to read more on why. With that being said, Jon Heyman is now reporting that this very well could be the case. Heyman wrote a short piece on the rumor in his weekly National League Notes article. Here is what Heyman had to say on Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates going forward:
"“Rivals believe Gerrit Cole could hit the trade market.”More from Rum BunterPittsburgh Pirates Prospect Stockwatch: Outfielder Tres GonzalezPittsburgh Pirates Podcast: Rum Bunter Radio Talks Winter Meetings FalloutPittsburgh Pirates: Potential Leadoff Hitters in 2023Pittsburgh Pirates: The Rotation is not being ImprovedPittsburgh Pirates Make Vince Velasquez Signing Official"
That is all he said in terms of the Pittsburgh Pirates ace potentially being available. However, it is different that Olney’s write up. Olney was simply speculating, Heyman is sharing information that he has been told from people inside the industry. Jon Heyman is one of the best Insiders in baseball, and he normally does not put stuff out there unless it is reliable information. Even early in the season teams are always doing their due diligence as the market unfolds. If there were to be a deal, obviously it would not be until later in the season. Still, teams like to find out who could potentially be available so they can get their scouts out and start formulating a trade deadline plan. Thus, Heyman does speculate one team who could be in of the power right hander if he is to become available. Heyman writes:
"The Yankees have always loved him so they’d make sense. New York drafted him out of high school as a late first rounder, but Cole’s father told them then that there was no offer that could keep him away from UCLA."
If this is the case, this would be a great team to deal with. First off, this would get Gerrit Cole out of the National League, and as far away from the Pittsburgh Pirates as possible. Second, the New York Yankees have a top two farm system in baseball. The returns for a young, top flight arm who has two years of control left could be huge. Of course, this is all hypothetical and a few months from now if it were to occur. For now, let us hope that the Pittsburgh Pirates can muster up some wins and get back into the race for when Taillon, Marte, and Kang rejoin the team.