As the off-season heats up, it appears that first big Pittsburgh Pirates rumor has come about. Apparently, the Minnesota Twins have interest in acquiring Gerrit Cole.
Yesterday, it was reported by Mike Beradino of the St. Paul Pioneer that the Minnesota Twins have interest in acquiring Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. To an extent, this is not surprising. It was reported around the 2017 trade deadline that the Pittsburgh Pirates were listening on Cole. The Pittsburgh Pirates were not going to move Cole during the season unless they were blown away by an offer. Now, in the offseason, it is not surprising to see teams once again trying to acquire the former number one overall pick.
For the Twins it makes sense. The Twins were in the Wild Card game this past October, and what ultimately cost them in the Wild Card game against the Yankees? Starting pitching. Acquiring Gerrit Cole would provide a big boost to their rotation. It would give them a legitimate top three in Gerrit Cole, Jose Berrios, and Ervin Santana. It could help them close the gap on the Cleveland Indians, who won the AL Central last season.
For the Bucs?
On the Pittsburgh Pirates side of things it also makes sense. Yes, Gerrit Cole is their number pitcher, but for how much longer? When looking at it, he only has two years of team control left. He is a Scott Boras client, meaning there is a high percentage that he will not consider signing an extension. Not to mention he will most likely get a contract out of the Bucs price range. Also, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a somewhat uphill battle to get back into the playoffs in 2018. If trading Gerrit Cole can net them a proper return, then it makes sense to deal him. He has two years of relatively cheap control that could net the Bucs a really strong return.
The Twins are likely one of many teams that will show interest in Gerrit Cole. With a weak starting pitching free agent market, there is a good chance that the rumor mill will blow up for Cole. The question is if the Bucs will get a strong enough return to deal him. When it comes down to it, they can always hold on to him for the 2018 deadline or offseason.