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Astros talking to the Pirates about Gerrit Cole

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Earlier this offseason the Yankees were said to be pushing to acquire Gerrit Cole from the Pirates. Those rumors cooled, but the Yankees are still reportedly interested. Their interest is now being matched, Jeff Passan of Yahoo says, by the defending champ Houston Astros.

Passan reports that Houston is dangling outfielder Derek Fisherin the talks, although he says the Pirates would want more, which makes sense. The Yankees, of course, have a loaded farm system themselves, so the Pirates are in a decent position to have two of the best teams in baseball bidding against one another.

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 either club’s rotation. For Houston, it would give them an outstanding 1-2-3-4 punch with Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers. Keuchel, of course, becomes a free agent after the 2018 season, so Cole could help cushion the blow of him leaving, assuming he leaves.

Bradley Zimmer to miss 8-12 months after shoulder surgery

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Indians outfielder Bradley Zimmer is out for the year after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder, the team announced Saturday. The projected recovery timetable spans anywhere from 8-12 months, which puts Zimmer’s return in the second half of the 2019 season, assuming that all goes well.

Zimmer, 25, had not made an appearance for the Indians since June 3. He racked up a cumulative nine weeks on the major- and minor-league disabled lists this season and will have finished his year with a .226/.281/.330 batting line, seven extra-base hits, and four stolen bases in 114 plate appearances.

The outfielder reportedly sustained his season-ending injury during a workout in Triple-A Columbus, where Cleveland.com’s Joe Noga says Zimmer began feeling discomfort in his shoulder after completing a set of one-handed throwing drills. Comments from club manager Terry Francona suggest that the Indians have every reason to believe that he’ll make a full recovery by next summer, though it’s not yet clear whether or not he’ll need additional time to readjust to a full workload when he takes the field again.