Report: Pirates and Yankees continuing to discuss Gerrit Cole trade

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 08: Gerrit Cole
PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 08: Gerrit Cole /

According to a report, the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees remain deeply engaged in trade talks surrounding the Pirates’ ace starting pitcher Gerrit Cole

The buzz surrounding the Pittsburgh Pirates at this past week’s Major League Baseball Winter Meetings was trade speculation around their ace Gerrit Cole. While multiple teams were mentioned as having interest in Cole the one team that kept popping up in trade talks was the New York Yankees.

The Winter Meetings are now over, however, the trade speculation around Gerrit Cole is not. Furthermore, it is the Yankees that remain at the center of the trade discussions surrounding Cole.

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Bucs and Bombers remain engaged in trade talks.

One thing that is great to see here, and has been great to see throughout this process, is that Neal Huntington is shooting for the moon for Gerrit Cole. As Dave texted me earlier today, ‘shoot for the moon and you’ll land among the stars.’ Shooting for the moon is exactly why Huntington is doing.

Entering the 2017 season Gleyber Torres was one of the top-10 prospects in all of baseball. Torres has the tools to be an elite defensive shortstop but also can be an above average hitter.

After posting a .384 wOBA and a 138 wRC+ in 32 games at Double-A last season he was promoted to Triple-A. In 23 Triple-A games Torres got even better with a .388 wOBA and a 145 wRC+. However, Tommy John Surgery then ended his season prematurely.

Acquiring Torres in a Gerrit Cole trade would be an absolute home run by Neal Huntington. Jordy Mercer is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, which would allow him to man shortstop until Torres’ elbow is 100 percent healthy. Additionally, behind Mercer shortstop is a total question mark. Kevin Newman is a poor defensive shortstop and his offense has progressively gotten worse at each Minor League stop, and Cole Tucker is still 2-3 years away and is coming off a hand injury.

Unfortunately, odds are, the Yankees will not move Torres. But the Pirates can still net a great return for Cole with the other names Heyman mentioned.

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Outfielder Clint Frazier is one of the top outfield prospects in baseball, third baseman Miguel Andujar projects to be a power hitting third baseman that would fix the Pirates’ thrid base woes for a long time, and Chance Adams posted a sub-3 ERA, a 3.64 FIP, and averaged over 8 K/9 at Double-A and Triple-A last season.

The biggest fish in this group is Frazier. If the Gerrit Cole is traded to the Yankees and Gleyber Torres is not involved in the trade, then Clint Frazier will be. If the Yankees refuse to move either, then a trade is unlikely.

Clint Frazier had an 11.6 percent walk rate, a .216 ISO, .344 on-base percentage, .357 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 123 at Triple-A last season before being promoted to the Major Leagues. Frazier finished his first taste of Major League action with just a .268 on-base percentage, .298 wOBA, and an 82 wRC+. However, he showed his power potential by posting a .216 ISO and slugging .448.

He also was bogged down by a leg injury suffered in early August. Prior to getting hurt, Frazier was having a great rookie campaign owning a .270 ISO, .539 slugging percentage, a .345 wOBA, and a 114 wRC+.

Adding Clint Frazier would add some serious intrigue to the current makeup of the Pirates. Andrew McCutchen aside since he will be a free agent after 2018, and odds are if Cole is traded McCutchen will be as well, the Pirate outfield seems set for the long term.

Starling Marte is under contract through 2021, Gregory Polanco through 2023, and then there is top prospect Austin Meadows. Would the Pirates look to shop Polanco as he has been injured and underperformed since signing his extension? Or, possibly, they look to move Meadows for starting pitching help. Regardless of what would come next, adding Frazier to the outfield mix would be an interesting twist.

Will Gerrit Cole be traded? While that remains an unknown, the odds of it happening certainly seem to be increasing. The Cole situation is one for Pirate fans to continue to keep tabs on as the off-season progresses.

Stay tuned with Rum Bunter for all of the latest news and rumor surrounding Gerrit Cole, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and any potential trades.