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Pirates trade rumors: Gerrit Cole could become available in talks

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Pirates ace Gerrit Cole may be available for trade at some point this summer, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

The team that appears to be a fit for Cole is the Yankees, as Heyman says “have always loved him” since he was drafted 28th overall by them in 2008 when he was in high school. At that time, though, Heyman said “Cole’s father told them then that there was no offer that could keep him away from UCLA,” where he played three seasons before being selected No. 1 overall by Pittsburgh in the 2011 draft.

The Cole-to-Yankees rumor is nothing new. John Harper of the New York Daily News wrote about this possibility on May 5, saying the following:

“In January, I speculated Gerrit Cole could be that ace-type starter to help put the Yankees over the top in 2018 or beyond, but with the Pirates’ slow start perhaps pushing them toward a rebuild sooner than expected, maybe such a deal could happen at the trade deadline this summer.”

Cole is 1-4 with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP in eight starts this season for Pittsburgh, which is currently in last place in the NL Central at 14-21. Along with their record, the Pirates have lost All-Star outfielder Starling Marte to an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, seen pitcher Jameson Taillon have surgery for suspicion of testicular cancer, and David Freese and Adam Frazier both hit the disabled list.

Harper went on to add that an executive told him that the Yankees could possibly deal prospects Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield, who came over from the Indians in the Andrew Miller trade last year, for Cole. After all, the Yankees need starting pitching and have a number of top prospects, as they have six in Baseball America’s Top 100 list.

“Frazier hasn’t hit much in Triple-A but he’s still young (22) with a high ceiling, and Sheffield projects as a No. 3 or 4 starter,” the exec said to Harper. “It might take another solid prospect and a fringe guy too, because Cole would be a hot commodity if he is available, and Pittsburgh would want quantity as well as quality. But the Yankees have the depth to outbid other teams.”