Gerrit Cole trade not as close as first reported

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UPDATE: Hold the phone.¬†Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that a Gerrit Cole trade “is neither close nor imminent.” Looks like Bowden jumped the gun.

11:02AM: Jim Bowden reports that the Yankees and Pirates are close to a deal that will send starter Gerrit Cole to New York.

The two teams have been talking for some time about Cole, though talks supposedly hit a standstill in recent days. Cole has been at the top of the Yankees Christmas wish list, but the Pirates had reportedly been demanding top prospect Gleyber Torres in a trade, which the Yankees have no desire to do. Bowden says, however, that the deal he’s hearing about does not include Torres.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported yesterday that the Pirates were “highly motivated” to trade Cole and that it was “a matter of when rather than if” he was dealt to the Yankees. If the Pirates backed down on that demand there are still any number of other solid prospects in the Yankees system who could make for a good deal for both sides, so odds are this gets done.

Cole went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 196/55 in 203 innings across 33 starts for the Pirates in 2017. He is only two seasons removed from a 19-8, 2.60 campaign in 2015, and he’s still just 27, so adding him would go a long way toward strengthening the Yankees rotation. That, combined with the addition of Giancarlo Stanton, would make them the clear favorites in the American League East, if they aren’t that already.