After weeks of rumors, it appears the Yankees may land another starting pitcher. According to Jeff Passan, the team is working towards a deal for Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole. Things could move quickly, as Passan explains that a trade with the Yankees appears more “a matter of when rather than if.”
Cole, 27, represents an interesting option for the Yankees. On the one hand, he works with premium stuff. According to Brooks Baseball, he averaged 96.48 mph with his fourseam fastball last season. Cole also sits in the high-80’s with his offspeed pitches, notably a wipeout slider and a changeup. He throws everything hard.
On the other hand, Cole’s results haven’t matched his stuff over the last two seasons. In fact, he’s been thoroughly mediocre. Last year he owned a 4.26 ERA over 203 innings. His peripherals weren’t much better, either. The 4.08 FIP was pedestrian and the 1.37 HR/9 raises all sorts of red flags. The fact that he struggled two years in a row proves concerning. That’s a trend, not a blip.
Nevertheless, the upside is there. Adding Cole to a rotation that already features Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and Sonny Gray is dream-worthy. If the division tide didn’t shift with the Giancarlo Stanton trade, it sure would with this deal. As Matt Provenzano wrote earlier this month, adding Cole means the the Yankees are going for the kill. They’re a team with a legitimate chance to go all the way and are acting accordingly.
The big question of course comes down to price. According to Jon Heyman, the two teams have a difference of opinion in terms of package headliners.
yankees have always loved gerrit cole, and maybe they work a deal eventually. but still hearing of one big holdup: pirates want gleyber to headline package, yanks want frazier to headline it.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 22, 2017
It’s fair to guess that Gleyber Torres won’t be involved in any potential Cole deal. That said, it will be interesting to see how a potential package shakes up. If the Yankees have taught fans anything over the last several years, it’s that Brian Cashman has a mastery over the trade market. He’s not the type to overpay.
Although the specifics remain largely unclear, it sounds like things are heading in the right direction. Momentum could gather quickly, so stay tuned for a potentially interesting night!