Pittsburgh Pirates: Cole, Houston Astros, New York Yankees

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

A new Gerrit Cole rumor popped up yesterday.  This time it did not relate to the New York Yankees, but rather another American League contender.

The biggest trade chip the Pittsburgh Pirates have is not Andrew McCutchen or Josh Harrison, but rather Gerrit Cole.  Cole has been one of the most speculated about players this offseason.  Many teams have asked the Pittsburgh Pirates about him, including the Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers, and the Chicago Cubs. Of course the team that has seemed destined to land Cole has been the New York Yankees.

Over the last few weeks of December, the two sides seemed destined to make a deal for the former number one overall pick.  However, the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees saw talks break down.  The main reason was because the Bucs were not backing down from their asking price.  The main piece that Pittsburgh Pirates wanted in return was apparently top infield prospect Gleyber Torres.  Talks seemed to enter a stalemate after this was reported.  By the turn of the new year, the rumors all but went away.

Since then, a few other teams have shown interest in Gerrit Cole.  The first was reported last week by John Paul Morosi.  Morosi reported that the Chicago Cubs had interest in Cole.  Obviously, being a NL Central rival, that does not seem a logical fit.  Yesterday it was reported by Jeff Passan that the Houston Astros have shown interest in Gerrit Cole.  This came out hours after Astros’ owner Jim Crane revealed in an interview that the team was aggressively pursuing a top of the rotation type arm.

Players in Return

Passan notes that Derek Fisher has been the main name that has been brought up in talks.  This seems logical as the Yankees reportedly were willing to part with young outfielder Clint Frazier.  Passan also said that the Pittsburgh Pirates would want one of Kyle Tucker or Forrest Whitley. Both are top 100 prospects and are the number one and number two prospects in the Astros system.  If the Bucs could get Fisher and Whitley it would be a slam dunk for Neal Huntington.  However, that does not seem likely.

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With the Bucs asking for top prospects from both the Yankees and Astros, it seems they are still holding firm on their demands for top flight prospects.  The question is whether or not one of the teams will fold and give up their future stars to become World Series favorites in 2018? The other remaining question is are the Pittsburgh Pirates trying to use the Astros as leverage on the New York Yankees? Either way, it is good to see two teams with the two of the better farm systems in on a potential Cole trade.