Yankees 'working on deal' to acquire Gerrit Cole from Pirates

Getty Images

Getty Images

While the Yankees have resigned CC Sabathia, they were believed to still be in contact with the Pirates regrading right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole.

An agreement has not yet been reached but it's "a matter of when rather than if", according to the report.

Cole, who won't turn 28 until September, was selected in the first round of the draft by the Yankees in 2008, but he chose not to sign with them and instead enrolled at UCLA.

The Yankees, on the other hand, are trying to build a package for the Pirates centered around Clint Frazier, who, thanks to the Giancarlo Stanton acquisition, is now quite expendable for the Bombers. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports notes that the Pirates are willing to do the deal, as long as prized infield prospect Gleyber Torres is thrown into the mix.

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Cole, 27, is under team control until 2020 and made $3.7 million this past season. He is the likeliest candidate to take over their second-base job full-time after Starlin Castro went to Miami in the Stanton deal.

And there's no denying that Cole is capable of being a No. 1 starter, as he was 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA and 208 innings in leading the Pirates to the playoffs in 2015, his one All-Star season. While it was technically the "worst" of his five big league seasons, the 31-year-old still logged 186 2/3 innings while striking out 10 batters per nine innings. The Yankees made it known that Clint Frazier was expendable due to their outfield logjam, but were not willing to deal top-tier prospects for a pitcher who had an ERA above 4.00 and allowed 31 home runs in 2017. The Yankees' current luxury-tax payroll stands around $181 million, according to calculations by Baseball Prospectus, and they would remain under the $197 million threshold even after potentially adding Cole.

He would join a staff that consists of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery.

Acquiring Cole would presumably push Montgomery - assuming he isn't involved in a Cole trade, of course - to Triple-A for the time being.

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