Rumors: The Pittsburgh Pirates have supposedly received a lot of interest in right handed pitcher Gerrit Cole. Only two teams have actually come to light, one being the Yankees, and the other the Texas Rangers.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have two years of team control remaining on their top starter. Many teams are interested in acquiring starting pitching, per usual. However, what makes Cole attractive is that he will come with a relatively cheap price compared to other starters this off-season. The top starters on the market are Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. Both of them will receive contracts north of $100 million. Meanwhile, even a pitcher like Alex Cobb, a good pitcher, but more of a number three, will likely gain $12-14 million a year on his contract this off-season. Cole on the other hand, is projected to receive a modest $7-8 million this off-season. He will receive even more next off-season, but still compared to the others on the market, he will be much cheaper and less risky due to the shorter term of team control.
The New York Yankees are most likely in the best position to acquire Gerrit Cole. They have one of the best, if not the best, farm systems in baseball. Plus, they have multiple top prospects that are close the majors or are currently major league ready. The other team that has been reported to have interest is the Texas Rangers.
The Texas Rangers MLB.com writer, TR Sullivan, reported yesterday that the Rangers approached the Pittsburgh Pirates about Cole. He notes that there “is really nothing there.” Now this could mean multiple things. First, that the Pittsburgh Pirates told the Rangers he was not available, however that does not seem likely. The Pirates are always open to discussing any player on their roster. The second possibility is that the Pittsburgh Pirates are not interest in anything the Rangers have to offer.
Texas has a farm system that is ranked in the bottom 10 in baseball. Their top prospect, Leody Tavares, hit .249 in Single-A last season. Meanwhile, their top pitching prospect Yohander Mendez threw a 3.79 ERA at Double-A and may project better as a left handed relief prospect. Their other two top prospects, Willie Calhoun and Ronald Guzman, project to be designated hitters. So between having a thin farm system, and lack of quality top prospects, there really does not seem to be anything that would really interest the Pirates compared to what other teams may have to offer.
Recap of Trade Rumor
The Texas Rangers did no wrong by looking into Gerrit Cole. They are a team that is looking to get back into the playoffs this upcoming season. They need to replace Yu Darvish, and Gerrit Cole represents a cheaper financial commitment than any free agent starters. However, they lack the farm system to get a deal done. Meanwhile, being they are trying to compete next season, they are not likely to trade any quality players off their current roster to facilitate a trade. So the Rangers might be interested, but a deal with them seems highly unlikely at this point.